Third Grade Happenings~ February

February 1, 2019

Dear Third Grade Families:

It was lovely seeing many of you at the recent winter concert. It’s hard to believe that we are already into the second half of the school year! We recently welcomed new student teachers to our Lower Lab family. They have jumped right in to lend support to students and teachers alike!

Some Celebratory Moments in January…

  •  Social Studies: Students have embraced their learning about a far away country, Brazil.
  •  Technology: We have worked with an exciting program called Word Art .
  •  Writing: Baby Literary Essay: Literary essay cadets successfully tackled literary essay boot camp and graduated with flying colors!
  • Debate: Following interactive read alouds, students engaged in two debates. They learned how to suspend judgement, weighing both sides of a claim, take notes, caucus, debate, rebut partner’s points, and finally to defend their claim through a literary essay.
  •  Character Studies: Students’ journeyed alongside their characters through the first two bends of our unit. They got to know their characters as they would a new friend, empathizing with and relating to them along the way.
  •   Our Math Unit: Fractions~ Students have enjoyed further developing their understanding of fractions including equivalent fractions, fractions of an area model, and fractions on a number line.
  •   Zumba~ Once a week, numerous third graders came together to enjoy a combination of low intensity and high intensity moves with Mr. Goodman.

Looking Forward To The Month(s) Ahead… Mid February/March

Test Preparation: After Mid Winter break, we will begin test preparation. This “test prep” work creates a bridge between our authentic work, and the specific language and structure of the upcoming NYS ELA exam.

Whole class and small group work will be designed to target a variety of skills.

Reading & Writing


In order to deeply understand the test passages, students will benefit from reading each passage two times. The first read is to get “the gist” and the second is to return and have a “closer read.” Students will be “road mapping”, where they pine and annotate the text.

Ask your child to share their special bookmark with you, and explain how it helps remember road-mapping skills for annotating a text.

Following February break… We will look carefully at a variety of questions that will deepen and extend the work we are developing during our character studies and literary essay unit.   

  •   One of the fun things we will engage in is a “reading marathon.” During this time we will channel students to read a variety of texts for long stretches of time.
  •   Students will work on strategies to successfully answer multiple choice, short response, and extended response questions using graphic organizers and checklists for support.
  •   Center activities will provide opportunities for students to practice skills and deepen their understanding.

Reader’s Notebooks continue to be a place to record and track thinking about our reading. Students have enjoyed giving partner feedback. In addition, students are learning how to use the narrative learning progression to evaluate their own responses, set goals, and push themselves as readers. As we move into the final bend of the character studies unit, students will learn how to compare and contrast characters. We hope to see that rich thinking reflected in students’ Reader’s Notebooks. A final reading activity will allow book clubs to display their understanding through a poster. In addition, each student will write a comparative literary essay.

Math: We will begin the month continuing our work around fractions, including adding and subtracting fractions. Next, we will transition into our February math unit…

Our Math Unit: Generating and Representing Measurement Data

This unit will highlight work around modeling data and using data to compare. Students will deepen their work in this area during their research for Brazil.

Social Studies: Learning About A Far Away Country: Brazil

Students will continue working together in cooperative learning clubs. Following their research, students will work with their club to complete an independent, open ended, interdisciplinary project that will represent their research.

Our continued work with the teaching artists from Symphony Space will further enrich this process.

STEAM: Connected largely around our work in social studies, students will engage in STEAM work around the rainforest in Brazil

The Problem: Resources in the rainforest are being depleted.

As an Amazon Activist…

  1. What are some solutions to end deforestation?
  2. How does human influence affect the Amazon?

Stay tuned! Our young activists will search for these answers!

Date for our next publishing party is on the horizon.

Until soon,

Leslie & Kate