Friday, April 28, 2017

Class Update

I hope everyone was able to enjoy some time doing something fun over April break. Now that we are back we are busy, busy, busy! Let me fill you in on things we finished up recently as well as what to look forward to in the future.

Recently during our science block, we learned about our solar system. We focused on planetary order, planet characteristics and moon phases. We even did a fun Breakout activity that was Star Wars themed (all the teachers dressed up as characters and the kids loved being surprised). It was so much fun! In the next few weeks we will start a mini unit on sound.

The students were very excited to begin our nonfiction reading unit. Our learning focused on how nonfiction differs from fiction reading, organizing new information into smaller chunks and summarizing using a box and bullets organizer. We also worked on compare and contrast using Venn diagrams. This week we have moved into narrative nonfiction, more specifically Biographies. Your child has just chosen a biography to read and research. They will become this person for our Wax Museum next month with your help. A letter will be going home today explaining the project. Also we read a just for fun read aloud titled, The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry which the class couldn't get enough of!!!

Our informational writing unit is going really well. Students began this process by choosing a topic that they are passionate about and could teach others. We have been working on Introductions, topic sentences and chapter organization. Please continue to look in your child’s folder daily to see if they have a rough draft that you need to help them edit and revise. Thank you!!

We finished our fraction unit and have moved into more work on multiplication, extension facts and factors. This unit also offers review on measurement and division.

Genius Hour

The third grade classes have begun Genius Hour. “Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.” The students are in the researching phase and will send a sheet home on Monday describing what their project is and if there are any supplies you might need to try to help them with.-- Most supplies are readily available at school and again this will be an in school project:)
Here is a link to the introduction of Genius Hour:

Enjoy the Weekend!

Monday, April 10, 2017


Hello Everyone! 
This week your child will not be bringing a regular math sheet homework home. We will be starting unit 8 after April break. So for the next few days your child will bring home other various tasks for homework time.

Your child played a fun fraction golf game during part of our math block today. For homework he or she will have a game board and helper circles to use to play a game with you. These sheets do not need to come back to school tomorrow.

Please let me know if you have questions!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Class Update

Hello Families!

We have been working on many different things in the classroom over the past few weeks.

Reading: We are still working through our mystery unit. As detective readers, we have been focusing on searching texts for clues, determining suspects and motives. Our read aloud is full of adventure and many clues to solve. The kids are really enjoying it!

Social Studies: Over the last few weeks we have been learning about the world, more specifically countries and what makes each of them unique and different. As a grade, we chose to learn about about Japan's culture and we even made a large class carp symbolizing courage, to decorate our classroom.

Each of the students have chosen a country to research too. We have been working hard to use different sources and take notes. Also, I know many of you are excited for the family country project! I can't wait to see them! The projects are due February 10th and you are invited to "Tour the World" in our classroom on February 16th starting at 9:00am.

Last week, the students and I had so much fun trying to solve a Geography Break Out! Clues were hidden around the room and the students worked together to find and solve them in order to open each of the six locks on the box. We had 45 minutes and solved it with 56 seconds left-talk about close!!!!

Also related to social studies, we have started our Junior Achievement program in the classroom. Mrs. Tippie (Noah's mom) has kindly volunteered to teach the class about how cities and towns are organized and what important responsibilities citizens have in their town as well.

Writing: We have been practicing the art of speech writing with persuasive essays. The students have been gathering topics in which they have strong feeling opinions about and turning them into a speech with a thesis and reasons or examples to support their thinking. 

We also wrote thank you letters to Martin Luther King, Jr. for his contributions to our country. The letters were filled with great vocabulary and phrases! Here are a few: "You inspired thousands" "What you did lifted up our country and people's spirits" "Your message will continue to be passed on"

Math: Right now we are working through multi-step word problems. These problems promote critical thinking and organization. Another strategy we have been practicing is doubling and breaking apart area rectangles. These activities support multiplication facts and build in helper facts. Also, we continue to practice becoming more fluent with addition, subtraction and multiplication facts. Please continue to support your child at home with these facts too!

Lastly, I wanted to post a beautiful collection of artwork the class did with Mrs. Higgison! It caught my eye, the first morning I saw it. Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Being Optimistic!!!

Hello Families,

Yesterday the third grade classes held a community meeting for the rest of the school. Each of our classrooms created a presentation based on OPTIMISM. This past week as a class, I worked with the students on the importance of having optimism and spreading it to everyone around you. Our class read a poem titled "Promise Yourself" by Christian Larson. I have added the link to the video of our performances. Our class is one of the middle acts. Enjoy!

Here is the poem we read:

This morning, as part of our meeting activity, we worked together as a team to solve an optimism poster that another class designed for us:

Later in the day, I read a wonderful book focusing on positivity and optimism titled, The Three Questions by Jon Muth. One of my favorite parts close to end leaves the readers with such a great message:

"Remember that there is only one important time, and that time is now....the most important thing, is to do good for the one standing at your side...these are answers to what is most important in this world. This is why we are here."

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Class Update

Hello Families,
I hope you enjoyed the "thankful trees" that came home with the students before Thanksgiving break.

The students and I have been so busy at school these past few weeks. Let me try to catch you up:

Reading: We loved our unit of study on Following Characters into Meaning. We read Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo as our mentor text. We followed the main character, Opal throughout the story and worked on making inferences, leaving tracks of our thinking and finding what the author's message is for us as the reader.

Writing: We are into the revising and publishing stage of our personal narratives. Throughout the process we worked on creating timelines to help organize our ideas, using strong leads and endings and writing details for the heart of the story. We will be ready for a publishing party in the next few weeks. Details coming soon!

Math: Multiplication continues to be a major focus in unit 3. The students have been hard at work developing fact fluency! Any help with this at home is greatly appreciated.

Science and Social Studies: The students loved the geology unit! We focused on the major layers of the earth, the rock cycle and how fossils help us learn about the earth long ago. We wrapped it up be completing an assessment, going rock climbing at the YHS high school and our field trip to the quarry. We have just begun our work on landforms to begin our next unit on Geography. Soon we will move into learning the continents, oceans and about different countries around the world. It is such a great way to learn and appreciate other peoples' cultures. 

Extras: Last month I went to an ACTEM conference and participated in a Breakout EDU activity. Once back at school, the teachers organized one for third grade students. The students had an opportunity to work on teamwork and perseverance with this class activity. The students were put into pairs and given different clues. Each clue would unlock a lock on the mystery box. The timer was set for 45 minutes. The students worked so well together and with just a minute and a half left they successfully "broke out"!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What's Happening?

Now that we have worked on creating a great classroom environment these past few weeks, we are starting to dig into the academics of the school year. Here are a few areas we are working on:

Reading: We have been focusing on "Building Our Reading Lives" for the first unit of study. We are learning about ourselves as readers and working on strategies to make reading a successful time. Right now we are reading Stone Fox together as a class. It is a great text for having strong emotions for a book!

Writing: After decorating our notebooks, we started to brainstorm special people and places in our lives. For each one, we added a few small moment ideas. Then we chose one to write about. This week we will work on creating positive writing partnerships. Also, Charlotte Agell (enrichment for literacy) has started coming into the class to present writing challenges. The students can choose to work on these during some class time or take them home to complete. So if your child is looking for a challenge please encourage them to give one a try!

Word Study:  The students have been working on identifying parts of speech and practicing components of the word study process. Our child did bring a priority word list one last week too. I encourage you to occasionally work on any highlighted words at home. We will be starting more formal word study groups soon.

Math: We have been reviewing some concepts previously taught like measurement and telling time. This week as mathematicians we are using strategies to solve multiplication and division problems. Also, this Friday your child will bring home a math fact fluency paper for addition and subtraction for you to review.
This is a great book for division!

Science: In geology we have been discussing the layers of the earth and exploring different kinds of rock samples. We will turn our focus to the rock cycle next!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our First Week

The students and I ended our first week in closing circle sharing about our favorite things we did over the last few days. There were many activities to choose from like a mystery school tour with riddles to solve and movement activities like Drip, Drip, Drench (a favorite) and Gotcha. Here are some other highlights from the week:

Classroom Community: All this week we worked to create a positive and safe environment for our classroom. We continued to learn about each other and celebrate similarities and differences that make all of us interesting and unique. We worked on activities to support what great classmates do and why the word RESPECT is so important for each of us.

Garden Harvest: Many students found this activity to be a favorite. We explored the garden, searching for different vegetables and once we found the cucumbers, there was enough for everyone to pick one. We decided since there were so many, we ate a few for snack and gave the rest (8 pounds worth!) to the nutritional staff to use in the cafeteria.

Reader's Workshop: As readers, we discussed what works well for us during reading time. To be successful, we agreed that picking the right spot and the right book are so important. We will continue this work during our first unit of study, Building a Reading Life.


  • Please help your child to bring in a baby photo in a sealed envelope with his or her name on it by this Thursday
  • Open House for third grade parents/caregivers will be Monday, September 19th from 6:00-6:30. I hope you can make it.
  • Decorating notebooks information/gathering materials will come home Monday in your child's folder.