Our Week – February 22

We’ve continued to explore the world, kindness and peace through the poems and books we’ve been reading.  The children have begun researching a country and are beginning to discover many Wonders around the world.

Reading Records

This month we’ve been keeping track of all the books we’ve read.  We’ve recorded all the books we’ve read together as a class.  The students have each recorded all of their own books. We’ve been trying to keep track of everything.  As a class we started and completed 28 books this month.  We mostly read realistic fiction, biographies and informational books. Our chapter read-aloud was historical fiction. Because of this record we’re going to challenge ourselves next month to read fantasy and traditional folktales and fables.  The children will be looking at their records to see how they can push themselves to read other genre as well.

We also used the books from our to learn how to create summaries for fiction.  We’re using the format that the main character wanted something, but had to overcome a problem.  While attempting to find a solution he/she attempted many different things until at last it was solved.  The children each chose a book that was completed this month to create a summary for. This will be our practice each month for the remainder of the year so we can further strengthen comprehension strategies.

Writing Narratives

All of the students have completed the second drafts of their family story.  They have focused on using description, dialogue, action, and inner thought to create the most interesting stories that they can.  We’ll go through one more step of conferencing, feedback, revision and conferencing again for final revision to create a final piece of writing that we’ll be ready to illustrate and share by mid-March.

The class voted for and awarded 3E book awards for our third month.  We have some very creative writers.  They have great ideas and have noticed that the authors who take the most time to develop their plot lines using the elaboration strategies create the books that are most often selected.  We’ve also noticed that lots of books submitted to be share each month are begun – but end with “to be continued” rather than being fully written.  We’ve decided to work on this.  Knowing how to end stories is as important as developing the ideas at the beginning.

News From PE  – by Mrs. Yeaton

For the past 2 weeks, the third graders have been having the opportunity to use the climbing wall in Physical Education class. We have been going on the wall horizontally so that we don’t need to use harnesses or belaying equipment.  This has added to our unit on fitness as climbing requires strength, flexibility and coordination.  It also addresses many social/emotional issues such as problem solving, patience, perseverance (grit) and courage.

I am including a list of climbing facilities in the area that you may want to take your child to over vacation.  Many of our students love using the climbing wall. At the climbing facilities they will be able to use harnesses and climb high (that’s what they really want to do!). Have a great February vacation!

  • MetroRock
  • (29) · Rock Climbing Gym
  • Newburyport, MA
  • (978) 499-7625
  • Open⋅Closes 10PM


  • Indoor Ascent
  • (43) · Rock Climbing Gym
  • Dover, NH
  • (603) 742-7848
  • Opens 5PM

Bits and Pieces –

  • We finished reading The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. The last Wonder Eben found was a 3-D map of his town.  We are going to create our own map of Sassafras Springs to show how we imagine the town and the places where Eben walked.  We’ll add all that we know maps include as we make it.
  • We’ve continued exploring maps and mapping.  Everyone has completed a map of his/her yard or the neighborhood that they play in. These maps include a title, a key, symbols, labels and compass rose.
  • We’ve begun to explore the concept of force in science.  We know a force is  a push or a pull.  We’ve learned a bit about gravity and friction and about magnetism.  We’re looking forward to exploring this science topic in more depth when we return from vacation.
  • We completed another round of basic fact math checks this week.  We’ve also continued to explore the concepts of area and perimeter.  Many of the children feel more certain about how to calculate these for regular rectangles.  Ask them about our Cheez-it exploration today.

Have a fabulous February break.  Our family is excited about UNH hockey, skating, sledding and dinners with our children and grandchildren.  We might try to fit in some museum visits – and for me, time to read lots of books on my TBR pile so I’ll be ready for the new books that are published in April.

Here Are This Week’s Blog Prompts

We’re learning more about the world, and we’d like to do all we can to make it more peaceful.  Below you can see some of the books we’ve been reading to help give us different ideas.

Today while blogging, some of us finished posts on different topics, but some of us thought and wrote about peace.

  • What does peace mean?
  • Describe peace in five words. Explain why you chose those words.
  • How can you create peace in our world?
  • Write a story about a peaceful world?
  • What are three things you can take to be more peaceful?
  • Write a poem about the world where all the people stopped fighting.

Our Week – February 15

Thank you for helping us have a wonderful Valentines Day.  The children were thrilled with their treats and trinkets.  We had a fun morning sharing and “squeaking” together.

We’ve rearranged our daily schedule and routines in ways that encourage the children to be more reflective and thoughtful.  I hope to help them get the most out of their learning.  I’m asking them to put forth a bit more effort so their products show more of what they know.  I don’t want them to over-analyze.   No one will finish anything.  I have been asking them to revise their writing, select different genre when reading or to consider solving a different type of problem.  I’m pleased with how many in the class are focusing their attention and effort.  Let them know what you see in the work that comes home on Friday, or in the content of their blog posts.

S.E.L – Open Circle

For the past several weeks we’ve been discussing behaviors and placing them on a continuum.  One end is labeled with “Positive, Helpful, and Productive” and the other end is labeled “Negative, Hurtful, and Unproductive.”  The children wrote scenarios and we’ve been placing them along this continuum.  We’ve had great discussion about saving seats, playing fairly and making comments about what others have or how they look.   We’ve also added behaviors like complimenting and being kind to our continuum, as well as annoying behaviors, chatting, teasing and destructive behaviors.  Behavior is one thing we can choose and control when stop to reflect on how we want to be in the world.

We talked specifically about bullying this week.  We talked about the anti-bullying law in New Hampshire and why it is important to understand what bullying truly is. Please talk to your child about this.  The definition we used is:  Bullying Behavior is when one or more people severely or repeatedly harm someone with actions or words.  There is an imbalance of power.  We often over use the term bullying when we speak of general unkindness, so it is helpful for the children to know that we – at school and at home – are working together to build a happier, kinder world.

Area and Perimeter

Most of the children know the difference between the terms: area and perimeter.  When we talked about problems that included fencing in an area to keep animals safe the concept began to take shape.  Each morning we are charting the growing patterns in our calendar and that is helping too.  See if your child can explain these to concepts and how each of them is helping us practice both, our basic addition and multiplication facts.

We’ve also begun to explore the standard algorithm with addition.  For some children it makes perfect sense.  They can visualize the place value changes and are relieved to have a one-step process for combining amounts.  For other children it is terribly confusing process.  It is challenging for them to visualize amounts ort o be certain of how amounts combine.  They are unsure of how place value can help us organize our thinking. With time it will come, but don’t be alarmed in problem solving work seems a bit shaky as we attempt to become more efficient in our problem solving process and maintain accuracy as well.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We’ve been working on our family stories.  Most of the children have completed their first draft and are now revising to add more detail and description.
  • We’ve begun to chart our daily reading habits.  The goal is to see what we are reading currently and make plans for how we can push ourselves to read more and differently.
  • In December the class initiated the “3E Book Awards.”  They were excited about writing books. This week the class voted for their top three choices.  They’ve created an exciting process – and they’ve realized that the most detailed books are the ones that win.  Hmmmmm.
  • We’ve selected countries for our Global Geography project.
  • This week we had a cooperative challenge with Mr. Guidi.  It helped to reinforce the notion that the habits of cooperation – quiet, focus and kind – lead to success.


Here Are This Week’s Blog Prompts

We’re thinking about the importance of kindness.  We’ve realized that if we are quiet, kind and focused we are able to put forth our best effort and accomplish more.  It’s exciting to be more and more successful.

Some of us finished blog posts started a while ago.  Other chose our own ideas to blog about.  Still others chose one of the following suggestions:

  • How can you influence others to be kind? Write about what you do and what you will try to do from now on to share a little kindness.
  • What does kindness teach people?
  • Write about a time someone was kind to you? Write about the act of kindness and how it made you feel.
  • How can you share more kindness in 3E and our school? Something nice I could do for one of my classmates is…
  • What kindness means to me
  • Write a story about Kevin the Kind Koala
  • If everyone in the world did just one kind thing each day…
  • Other…

We’re trying to do something extra-kind each day.  We hope to make the world a better place.

Our Week – February 8

Thank you for making our Holiday Palooza such a success.  Thank you for touring the displays and talking to the children about all they’d discovered about holidays, researching and informational writing.  Thank you for taking the time to play their games and to learn from them.  Many of the kids were able to design a Palooza blog post this week – it seems like they had a great time sharing with all of you.

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

We’ve begun our 8thchapter read aloud, The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney.  The book is set in rural Sassafras Springs, Missouri in 1923. Eben, the main character, wishes he could travel the world and see things like The Seven Ancient Wonders of the world.  He complains that his life is too dull and too boring to bear so he father offers him a challenge.  He’s got seven days to see if he can find seven wonders in his sleepy town.  If he does, he’ll get a train ticket to travel to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to visit cousins there.  With this exciting prospect and a pad of paper to keep track of his collection, Eben sets off to see what he can find.

So far in our reading, Eben’s been able to find two Wonders in two days and things are looking promising. We’ll use this book to guide our next research project.  We’ll be searching for Wonders around the world in different countries we explore.

Global Geography

We have read about each of the seven continents and completed K-W-L (What we think we Know – What we learned from reading- What we’d like to Learn more about.) charts for each.  In addition, the children were able to explore one longer continent book on Tru-Flix.  This is an online book that is linked to lots of videos and a variety of resources to extend their understanding.  (They can explore more at home by going to the eboard and choosing the Resources tab.)

We’ve begun to explore books that share pictures from many different places around the world.  I hope to inspire the children to begin thinking about places in the world they’d like to know more about.

Next week the children will each select a country they would like to learn more about.  You may want to talk to your child this weekend about places you’ve traveled to or know lots about.  Just like the national holidays, understanding how countries, habitats and cultures can be a little tricky and I don’t want to support the development of cultural stereotypes.  We’ll be talking about this so we are careful and develop respect for differences without calling them weird. We’ll also need to take care to not make assumptions based on only one piece of information.

Math and Measurement

We’ve continued to measure things using both inches and centimeters.  I think the children are becoming more familiar and comfortable with writing mixed numbers when parts are involved.  They are feeling more certain about what basic fractions are and how they are represented.

We’re also exploring the concepts of perimeter and area.  It is part of the pattern on our calendar this month.  It is reminding us of the relationship between addition and multiplication that we introduced at the beginning of the school year.  We are learning the perimeter is the total distance around the outside of a 2D shape.  Add up the length of all sides and you’ll know the perimeter.  We are also learning that you can calculate the area of shapes made up of rectangles by breaking them into individual rectangles.

Bit and Pieces –

  • Thank you everyone for your generous support of the 100thDay collection of shampoo for Gather.  We were able to reach our goal.  In fact 1stgrade shared that the school’s grand total was nearly 1,250 items collected to support families in need.  This is an amazing school wide community service project. Thank you.
  • We wrote about what it could be like when we are 100.  Most of the children wrote pros and cons of being old.  Those quick-writes will be posted in the hall next week if you happen to be in the school.  They’ll make you smile.
  • We are part of a Kindness read-aloud project.  We began by sharing I Am Human and writing about what our big dreams are.  We have a lot of dreams to be a professional athlete or to travel the world to discover new animal species.  A few children dream of becoming scientist – one want to be a nuclear chemist and another wants to be a geneticist who creates an entirely knew species.
  • Remember the Valentines Day brunch next Thursday morning.

Our Week – February 1

We are hopeful the weather settles down.  We’re having trouble fitting everything into our already too short days. Little by little we’re finishing our weather forecasting project and our Holiday Palooza work.  We’ve begun our family story writing, but have not gotten far.  We’ve spent a bit more time learning about maps, mapping and the seven continents this week.

There’s so much we want to do, but so little time in our classroom to get it done.  Oh well, we’ll just keep doing all that we can and little by little it will all get done.

The Holiday Palooza

For the last few weeks I’ve been writing about what the children are able to understand as they’ve researched the national holidays.  They have little background knowledge to help them understand the changes in history and what it all means.  I’ve been worried, but I shouldn’t have been.  As the children organize and write their information and plan their displays and games, their learning shows.  Yes, there are holes in their understanding and a few misconceptions, but they have learned a lot.  The children are excited and proud of their work.

This week we’ve been building an introductory hall display with photographs, labels and speech balloons – their interest in teaching others shows there as well.

We are looking forward to sharing on Monday, February 4 from 2:00 to 2:40 and again from 5:15 to 6:00.   Please be ready to tour all the displays, asking the children to share what they discovered in this research process, and then be ready to choose a game or two to play.

Grade 3 Physical Education News from Mrs. Yeaton

This month students in 3C and 3E are learning about the components of fitness (cardiorespiratory, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility).  We are playing games and wearing pedometers.   The number of a team’s total steps determines the winner of each activity, not the score.  They are loving it!

I am also introducing them to the Fitnessgram fitness tests that they will be taking part in when they are in middle school.  I want them to learn the correct way to perform the tasks so that they will do well on the tests in the future.  The Fitnessgram is really a way to show students where they are fitness wise. There is a Healthy Fitness Zone that they will try to attain.  If they don’t attain that then we conference and talk about what they can do to increase their cardiovascular fitness, for example.  I talk with them about walking/jogging/riding a bike/swimming to increase their fitness level in that component.  It’s important for students to become familiar with their fitness levels and what they can do to increase them or maintain them.

I have added a link for you to check out regarding kids and exercise. (The link is live on the blog.)


Bits and Pieces –

  • Huzzah! To the 5thgraders for their amazingly wonderful United We Stand performance. It was exciting to notice connections between the history we’ve been learning during our National Holiday Research project and what was shared in the musical.
  • We finished The Sasquatch Escape and were able to sort through the images of the important event in each chapter to decide which scene was a favorite to illustrate.
  • We spent time talking about friendship this week.  I hope you’ll have time to read some of the blog posts made by children who chose to think about this topic.  Being a friend is important.
  • The read Let the Children March, a recently published picture book about an important moment in the Civil Movement.  This event took place in 1963 and really changed the world.
  • Thank you to all the families who’ve been able to contribute to the 100thday of School service learning project.  Grade 3 is collecting Dish Soap.  At this point in the project we’re nearing 50 bottles.  With only 32 students in the grade it is quite a commitment.  We’ve got four more days to meet our goal.  Thank you for your support in this amazing school-wide service project!