Our Week – March 15

It seems wild that we have already reach the mid-point of March, and that we are two-thirds of the way through our school year.  The days and weeks are flying by.  I guess they always do, but I wish things could slow down a little so we can fit in more book discussions and research projects and art and building and, well, just have more time together. I know we’ll accomplish all that we can, but I’m just wishing to fit everything in so it feels exciting and well done.

Because of our stops and starts lately, due to delays and professional development days sprinkled in too, it has been challenging to get into a learning flow.  Here’s a list of what we’ve been doing.


We’ve been reading picture books about friendships, feelings and kindness.  We’ve been reading about different places around the world and the ways that people are the same and different at the same time.  We’re halfway through Mary Poppinsand are excited to compare the book and the play.

The children are really making an effort to select books that help them grow and develop as thinking readers.  They are keeping track of the books they read, when the start them and finish them, the genre and a brief comment about the book.  This week we realized that at the beginning of the year when we set up expectations for book selection we said there should be two or three just right books in each book box – the one you are reading now, and, at least, the one you’ll be reading next.  You could have one or two “fun and easy” books and you might have one real challenge. These are still our guidelines, but in September Gerald and Piggie were the “easy” selections and now it is the graphic novels that are.  They have grown and are becoming more skilled readers.

We are exploring different ways to respond to reading.  We’ve learned three response types so far:  Sketch to Stretch, Essence Charts and A Reflection Each Page.  We practiced the final strategy together as a class while we were reading a chapter of Mary Poppins.  We are also beginning a new round of book clubs.  One group began this week and they’ve been able to see the benefit of keeping track of reading by writing.  It really helps you think about what happening and to remember it.


The fourth month of the 3E book contest and awards is coming up.  The children are truly excited about creating innovative books and interesting stories.  Often the children work together building the stories a page at a time.  Some are really thinking of how they can include each of the elaboration strategies within each story.  The ideas always start off great.  Many of them leave us wishing for more when they end. The words, “to be continued,” often leave the class groaning.

We have continued to work on sentence construction.  We’ve practiced constructing simple, compound and complex sentences when looking at photographs of pictures of children from the countries we’ve begun researching. We’ve continued to focus on narrative writing and done a teeny bit of more revision with our family stories.

We’re learning note taking strategies and learning how to organize our information and thoughts into paragraphs.  We’ve been collecting information about possible Wonders from our countries. Each of the children wrote a letter on their blogs asking for information about the country they are researching.  We hope that we’ll receive responses from around the world.  We’re hoping to find out how far away our blogs are read.

If you know people from these countries, please send them the student’s blog URL so they can respond.  That would be fabulous.  Thank you!

Liam – Japan                          Emma – Thailand                  Logan – Argentina

Sophia – Germany                 Sutton – United Kingdom    Ellia – China

Ella – Russia                           Michael – Costa Rica             Mady – Italy

Olive – Canada                      Cooper – India                       Eddie – Madagascar

Ryan – Mexico                       Charlie – Turkey                   Gabriel – Spain

Hayley – France


We’ve been working with large amounts and place value.  We’ve been reading amounts through the billions and identifying the value of digits in certain places.  We’ve learned about the periods in numbers and how each period has a ones, tens and hundreds place. We’ve also been dealing with equivalent amounts such as 4 hundreds equaling 40 tens or 400 ones.  We’ve also solved a variety of place value riddles.  This work with place value is to help all of the children feel comfortable using the standard algorithm for addition and subtraction.  Some of them are already there, while others feel nervous about making that step.

We continue to do a little basic fact practice every day, along with Number Corner when we share the calendar each day.  This month we are exploring different ways of measuring times and for organizing data. We’re reading digital and analogue clocks and reading pictographs and tally charts.

Social Studies and Science

In our study of global geography, we’ve continued to explore maps and mapping.  During shared reading we’ve been sharing books, poems and songs that allow us to explore what it is like to live in different places around the world.  And of course the children are each researching the country they were interested in learning about.

We’ve been working with Mrs. Herlihy in technology to create a weather forecast.  We gathered the data in class, created the slides in technology and are now ready to write the script for the forecast.  In two weeks time we hope to film our forecasts.  It’s been quite a long process – surprising how our delays interrupted our scheduled technology times.  Even though the process this year has been more draw out than we’d hoped, I think the children are learning a lot about weather, climates, mapping and are developing many technology skills they will use from now on in making presentations.

And finally we’ve exploring force and magnetism.  This week we explored the notion that all forces are either a push or a pull.  Some are weak and some are strong.  We used this notion to see if we could launch a hopper popper.  At first everyone made the popper the same way and tried to see how high they would jump. Next we explored variables and tried to see what changes we could make to make them hop higher.  Ask your child what he or she discovered.  Some of the variations worked and some of them didn’t. That’s how it is when you work through a design process.

Bits and Pieces –

  • We went snowshoeing with Mrs. Yeaton during Phys. Ed.  It was fun to be outside and enjoy the snow.
  • We are having fun playing our recorders with Mrs. Oliver.  Please help your child find time to practice – but also always house their recorder in their backpack so it’s here at school on the days we need them.
  • FYI – For those who like to plan well in advance…the children will be playing in a Recorder Concert prior to the 3rdGrade Parade of States (more details to come in April) on Thursday, May 23.  We’ll ask the children to arrive at 4:45 with the concert to begin promptly at 5:00 with the float parade to follow.
  • The first Wonder that Eben found in The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs was an apple head doll.  Mrs. Sheridan is helping each of the children make their own.  The heads have been carved, the bodies built and the clothing designed.  Next they’ll be sewing and putting them together.
  • Report cards will be coming to you in the mail next week.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate contact me.  Children are receiving mostly 2’s and 3’s, which is to be expected.  I am proud of their time and effort and the progress that has been made by each of them since the end of November.