Third Grade Happenings~December

Some Celebratory Moments


In reading, students learned structures of nonfiction texts. Reading from both nonfiction books and articles of interest, students  learned how to pose literal questions from the text, then turn those questions into complex questions, and finally to grow big ideas. 

In writing, children chose topics they know inside and out to write about so that they can put all their energy toward shoring up foundational information writing skills. This unit brought about great excitement, as students wrote on topics they know well, rather than researching topics that are important in their curriculum. This means they have the advantage of being able to draw upon personal expertise. Be sure to ask students during our upcoming publishing party about their topic of expertise. 

Math: Students successfully worked to break apart multiplication problems. They solved multiplication problems with small 2-digit numbers by breaking the numbers apart and representing their solutions with arrays. 

Social Studies: A recent visit from Symphony Space punctuated the start of an exciting study of Nigeria. Students learned about the art and culture of Nigeria.  

Steam: Students are working in small groups developing a Minecraft structure that will protect them against a natural disaster. Fridays at tech have never been more exciting!

Unicef The third graders collected an astounding $727.14, which was donated to Unicef. A special thanks to Kristin for coordinating this Lower Lab Cares event and to Marina for counting and submitting the donation! 

Creative Writing: Author and educator Suzanne La Fleur has been working with the students weekly on creative writing. Students have selected their story idea and are going through a variety of revisions. Suzanne has provided feedback and students are thrilled that their writing will be included in a class anthology, which will be shared during our December publishing party.

Looking forward to the month ahead…

Keeping a fiction reading life going… We want to encourage students to keep their fiction reading going at home. This nightly homework helps to remind students of the value of reading fiction. In fact, in narrative nonfiction, we remember just how important these story elements are to understanding these hybrid texts. 

Students should ideally talk about their books in ways that show they are holding onto the story as well as drawing upon strategies when they encounter difficult parts of the text. We have been explicitly teaching how and why characters change through read aloud and hope that we will see this work reflected in students’ reader’s notebooks. 

Reading Biographies

We are encouraging our students to consider what work from the read aloud they want to try applying in their own independent reading. Students are currently reading biographies and applying these valuable skills. 

When Reading Narrative Nonfiction…

Read it as a story!  

  • What are the subject’s traits, motivations, needs?  
  • What struggles/threats does the subject face? 
  • What is the subject known for? 
  • What ideas/life lessons does it teach?  

Read it as information!  

  • What topics can you learn about?  
  • What main ideas/supportive points can you glean? 

Writing: Students will carry the valuable skills they acquired during the art of informational writing into their research and writing about Nigeria. An end product may include an info-graphic depicting the people, places, things that make Nigeria unique. 

Math: Teacher’s Lounge: Students successfully worked with partners to explore strategies in division in an open-ended investigation called Teacher’s Lounge. Students came up with different strategies to solve division problems without using the standard algorithm.

In the next  investigation, we will explore strategies for multiplication and division. Students will solve multiplication problems with 2-digit numbers. They will then begin to understand the relationship between multiplication and division in order to solve division problems. In the last component of the investigation, students will explore the meaning and structure of multiplication and division. 

Social Studies: Students will be working from nonfiction texts, articles, videos, and slide presentations to research Nigeria. Recently, students read a story about a girl named Harmony and her daily life in Nigeria. This close account really helped our students understand just how different life is in Nigeria versus the United States. 

Guest Speaker: During the coming month, students will skype with author Michael Patrick O’Neill. He has travelled extensively worldwide photographing diverse aquatic animals, habitats, and humans’ impact on them. Mr. O’Neill has written and photographed seven nonfiction marine life books designed to encourage school children to read, write, and become involved in science and conservation.

Announcements, Reminders, and The Not too Distant Future…

Publishing Party: December 19, 2019 @ 8:45 AM. More details to follow from our class representatives.  

Inside Broadway Trip: Create A Musical/Beetle Juice Performance on December 12th.

We will leave school at 12:15 PM. Several parents will join us as chaperones. We will return to school at approximately 3:45 PM.