We’ve been thinking about gratitude and learning some of the history behind Thanksgiving. We finished our second Humphrey read-aloud and the Humphrey book clubs are starting to wrap up as well. We had fun creating Humphrey models and Humphrey art this week. We had a couple indoor recesses and so many in the class had the chance to build with marble works and explore magnetism – a great introduction to our next science inquiry, force and motion.
We’ve spent some time learning about note taking, research and informational writing. The children have each chosen a topic to research ranging from dingoes and red pandas to Apollo 11 and galaxies. They’ve been researching in the library and online. You may want to talk to your child about the topic he or she has chosen to find out what they have discovered so far. Often talking helps uncover new questions, or will connect them to new resources and information. This independent inquiry, combined with the Who Am I? project and other classroom experiences with observation, description and guided experiments has been designed to help the children understand the nature and variety of scientific exploration. (And it’s fun.)
Thanksgiving – a National Holiday Since 1863
This week we’ve spent some time reading about Thanksgiving. We’ve learned some about the Pilgrims and some about New Hampshire’s role in helping Thanksgiving become a national holiday. See if you child can tell you about it. We’ve spent time considering how gratitude can help us notice how fortunate we are. Your children created a top 10 list and worked to create an acrostic poem for their blog.
As I prepare the first term report cards, I’d like to thank so many of you for coming to your child’s goal setting conference to hear how he or she describes his/her learning process at this point in the year. It is challenging for eight and nine year olds to reflect on learning. They each spent time to thoughtfully identify strengths and to look for areas of growth. Each of the children did a wonderful job with this process and in choosing the work to serve as evidence for their claims. Thank you, also for meeting with me to share assessment data and work samples that will help you (hopefully) better understand the report cards when you receive them.
Please remember that third grade is a transitional year. Your third grader is asked to do quite a bit more independently than in years past. They are learning to make choices that help them grow, rather than relying on tasks easily done. During this first term, the children will likely earn a combination of 2’s and 3’s. They’ve not had the time to develop and master these skills independently. Children receiving individualized support may receive 1’s and 2’s.
Because of our conferences, this term’s report card will not have an extensive narrative comment – those will come with terms two and three. If you find you have questions and concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’ve not been able to schedule a conference, please let me know if you would like to meet.
Bits and Pieces –
- We are beginning an exploration of mysteries. This is a fun genre study. Our new read-aloud is Mystery on Pine Lake.
- We are continuing to learn more about multiplication. It seems as though most of the children understand all the models of multiplication.
- This week in Open Circle we learned more about ways to stay calm in times of difficulty – when we’re confused in the classroom, angry on the playground or annoyed in line. We are creating a “Calming Cube” to remind us of strategies to use instead of acting out.
Finally, it would be greatly appreciated if you could find time to talk with your child about what it means at your house to put forth one’s best effort. Each child understands our classroom discussions differently. For some children, it seems, working fast is best. That means they skim across the activities doing what they already know rather than extending themselves to learn “new”. As a result, expectations are only partially met. For other children it seems as though assignments are secondary, being social comes first. Conversation consumes their time. They approach tasks as if they can get them done eventually. As a result of these choices, expectations are seldom met. The children simply run out of time. Some children lack confidence. They are not sure they’ll succeed, and so not trying feels like a safer option. We’ve been talking about positive self-talk and growth mindset. All of the children need support with organizing, prioritizing and managing time. They will benefit from finding ways to listen to their positive inner voice as they explore ideas and find opportunities for learning in all they do whether simple or complex. Thank you for your help in exploring these ideas with your child. It will be exciting to see how learning grows in 3E.