Third Grade Happenings ~ April

April 1, 2019

Dear Third Grade Families:

Third graders have enjoyed an action packed month, punctuated by our Lower Lab value of commitment. Students are filled with enthusiasm and ready to embrace the upcoming exam with courage, perseverance, and commitment. Spring break is just around the corner, and no one deserves it more than our students.

Some Celebratory Moments in March…

  •      Social Studies: We enjoyed the sights and sounds of Latin America at a recent Symphony Space performance.
  •      Writing: We have learned the structures of a short and extended response.
  •      Reading: Students have learned how to read and annotate test passages, including a “gist read” and a second read. We have learned various multiple-choice strategies, and built our reading stamina during “reading marathons.”
  •      Center Activities: We enjoyed a variety of center activities along with class jeopardy which have reinforced specific reading and writing skills.
  •      Our Math Units: Students have enjoyed investigating fractions and locating them on our class number line. We have deepened our knowledge of geometry through focusing on triangles, quadrilaterals, perimeter and area. We learned that rectangles and rhombuses share some of the same attributes as a square!

Looking Forward To The Month Ahead…April

Following the ELA exam, we will experience our second Skype visit with author Michael Patrick O’Neill. His work with ocean photography and nonfiction writing will support our upcoming reading and writing units. Mr. O’Neill’s educational books are designed to encourage children of all ages to read, write, and become involved in science and conservation.

Reading: Elephants, Penguins and Frogs- Oh My! Students will work together in research clubs to study two different animals. Close reading of our animal books and videos will be an opportunity to compare and contrast these animals. Students will identify different text structures and use those to take notes, elaborate on their ideas, and to synthesize information as they take notes. Clubs will represent their learning in a group poster utilizing nonfiction text features.

Writing: Writing About Research This writing unit is a sequel to The Art of Informational Writing taught in late November through December. Students will transfer everything they learned during that unit and apply it to new writing projects for the different animals they will study. Across this writing unit, students will collaborate to write ‘club books’ about both animals they research, and then they will create a club poster that captures the ideas they grow in the final bend of the reading unit. Students will each be responsible for completing specific chapters in their club books, in addition to their unique contribution towards the club poster.

Math~ Test Preparation: We have extended our math time to sixty minutes daily. During this extra time, students are working on word problems that are specifically aligned to the standards we are teaching each week. This work presents opportunities for thoughtful reflection and deeper discussions. Each Friday students complete a review packet for the standards introduced throughout the week. Small groups are planned each week to differentiate instruction and address each student’s needs.  

This “test prep” work creates a bridge between our authentic work and the specific language and structure of the upcoming NYS Math exam. We will be reviewing skills and deepening students’ understanding of prior units in operations and algebraic thinking. Students have reviewed the properties of shapes and calculated the area and perimeter of rectangles and composite figures. We will also be covering a unit on data and measurement.

Social Studies: Learning About Cultures Around the World Through Literature

As we draw our study of Brazil to a close, we will highlight China in the coming month. A recent visit from Symphony Space motivated the students with Qing-Feng & Yu Xia, Chinese Opera & Martial Arts.

Essential Questions:

o   How does literature reflect the characteristics of a culture?

o   How can we think critically while reading literature and studying cultures around the world?

This social studies unit focuses on the reading of folktales in order to further develop students’ reading skills while also learning about cultures around the world. Third graders will recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures. Students will be able to determine the central message, lesson, or moral of the story, as well as explain how this message is conveyed through key details in the text. Additionally, students will work on distinguishing their own point of view from the narrator or main character’s point of view.

Symphony Space will continue to enrich students’ learning about cultures around the world with additional class activities. In late May we will enjoy a second class trip to Symphony space. Stay tuned for more details.

The ELA State Exam will take place on April 2nd and April 3rd. We recommend a good night’s sleep, a complete breakfast and that students be dressed in extremely comfortable clothes. Please note that #2 pencils will be provided for the test, and that students should not bring additional materials on these days.

Until Soon,

Leslie And Kate