Week 37

Our reflections, math games, language games using content vocabulary, and final assembly this week provided excellent ways to wrap up the school year.

Thanks to all for your support throughout the year. Please visit me in the fifth-grade hall next year when you come to SAS!

Week 36

Camp Week
Even with “Camp Week” tents set up in the classroom, the students were able to finish up content area projects and delve into some productive curriculum reviews. In math, the students reviewed concepts from the geometry math unit, solved some story problems with multiple solutions, and played some math games. For social studies and literacy, students presented their “Significant Person” iMovies for all to see. The iMovies focused on significant life events of the biography subject, the contribution(s) made by the person they researched, and the character traits that helped that person achieve so much.

Students also created a “camp” community in the classroom this week by pitching tents and creating an environment that felt as if we were somewhere outside of our classroom. One of the fun activities we pursued was a camp “simulation” in which students consulted with each other in their tents to come up possible solutions to problematic camping situations (getting burned by a campfire, getting lost in the woods, encountering a bear, etc.). After presenting their ideas, they learned about the safest ways to react to such situations. We also had some fun experiences such as sing-alongs, a pizza lunch, and making “smores” (but not over an open campfire!).

Other Business:

I am planning to return the USBs with the photos and iMovie on Monday. If you haven’t already sent one and want to do so, please send it with your child on Monday.

Field Day for Grade 3 will be on Monday, June 6th!  If it is raining, it will be canceled and it will NOT be rescheduled, so let’s hope for good weather! Here are a few reminders:

  • Students should bring a lunch.  Grades 1-5 will NOT be eating in the cafeteria, so please remember to send children with their own lunch from home.
  • Have your child bring a towel and change of clothes.- There will be time to dry off and change out of wet clothes after the field day ends.
  • Please send water bottles and sunscreen!



Week 35

Social Studies and Literacy
Students have continued to research their biography subjects and have finally written a coherent script for their iMovie. They have also chosen images that match the text. In addition to having to ascertain the importance of the subject’s life events, analyze the contributions of the biography subject, and reflect on the character traits that made that person successful, they have had to learn a lot of technology as they navigate Word, assemble high-quality images, and begin the iMovie.

Students spent a week learning how to collect data and represent their findings using a variety of graphs such as pictographs, bar graphs, and line plots. They also learned how to use the data to solve a variety of word problems. Students completed the final assessment of this unit this week and have begun the last unit of 3rd grade, Geometry.  They have been exploring polygons by categorizing them based on their different attributes. Next week we will extend our knowledge by working with tessellations.  

Other Business:
Coming up! 3rd Grade Camp SAS
Next Wednesday, we will launch our annual “Camp SAS” as the children set up tents for a variety of literacy activities. This setting provides the students to enjoy partner reading and other educational activities amidst the comfort of sleeping bags, pillows, and other “homey” accoutrements. Each child will be allowed to bring a tent, sleeping bag, blanket, pillow or ONE stuffed animal to school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, June 1-3.  On those days they will tell stories, engage in sing-alongs, enjoy arts and crafts, and participate in other “camp activities.”
If you have two large tents that can be set up in the classroom please let me know. Please send in tents prior to or on Wednesday, June 1.

Grade 3 End of Year Party:
On June 3rd (Friday) the whole third grade will be outside from 11:20-12:15 under the Pizza Hut covered area with pizza,  popsicles, and drink provided by the school. If parents choose, they may come to snap a few photos before the kids head to recess at 12:15.


Week 34

Social Studies and Literacy
As students read about their biography subjects, they are beginning to understand the time period during which the person lived. They are looking at the early years, struggles, life work, and contributions he or she made to society. Students will eventually use their notes to create a presentation on the public figure they have chosen to study by creating an iMovie.

Students also had a chance to learn more about the greater Shanghai community while hosting 3rd and 4th grade students from XuanQiao School. Not only were they able to show the XuanQiao students their learning firsthand, but they also used language in new ways as they explained, shared activities, and played the role of host.

Students will soon be  collecting data and representing their findings on a variety of graphs such as pictographs, bar graphs, and line plots.  They will learn how to use the data to solve a variety of word problems as they analyze the data collected.  This ishort unit on data collection will be assessed soon and the remaining days of school will be spent on a brief introduction to geometry and solving word problems.

Other Business:
Coming up! 3rd Grade Camp SAS
One of the most fun parts about third grade is our annual tradition of Camp SAS at the end of the school year. Camp provides the students a chance to say goodbye to each other for the summer and to remember the fun times in third grade.  The children will turn our classroom into a campsite by setting up tents.  Throughout camp they will tell stories, engage in sing-a-longs, enjoy arts and crafts, and participate in other “camp activities.”

If you have two large tents that can be set up in the classroom please let me know.

Week 33

Social Studies and Literacy
Now that students have wrapped up the Ecosystems Unit in science, they are focusing on our social studies unit on biographies. As they read about their biography subjects, they are beginning to understand the time period during which the person lived. They are looking at the contributions he or she made to society in order to figure out what made that person so influential. They have also been thinking about what types of experiences and events in a person’s life can help create an interesting biography. Students will eventually use their notes to create a presentation on the public figure they have chosen to study.

This week we wrapped up the fractions unit by reviewing equivalents, number lines, improper fractions, and story problems.  The students took their end-of-unit assessment on Friday. Our next module in math examines data – how to collect it, analyze, and interpret it.  Students will soon be analyzing survey results and making LOTS of graphs!  

Other Business:
On Thursday, May 19, and Friday, May 20, third graders will be hosting visitors from Xuanqiao School. Please remember that all third graders will need to bring a sack lunch on those two days.

Week 32

Science and Literacy
Students are working on their final revisions of their ecosystem research reports. I have been impressed by the report contents and and the quality of the writing. Students will be presenting their research in brief oral reports next week.  Third grade teachers are simultaneously launching our last literacy unit, on biographies. This unit of study focuses on identifying qualities of leaders and analyzing how they have made an impact. Students will be using skills they acquired during the ecosystems research unit to help them find important information about their subject of study. In the culminating activity, students will develop an end-of-unit presentation.

This week students used their knowledge of representing fractions on the number line to explore equivalent fractions.  Students learned that when the whole is the same, the more equal parts there are, the smaller each equal part becomes.  They learned simple equivalent fractions such as 3/9 = 1/3 , 2/4 = 1/2, etc.  Students were able to apply this knowledge to a variety of real world application problems in preparation for the end of module assessment next week.  Our next module will be on Collecting and Displaying Data.  

Other Business:
Grade 3 Soccer Day is coming up on May 11th and you are invited to attend!  Please be sure your child wears sunscreen, brings running shoes (no soccer cleats), and brings a water bottle and hearty snack. See you on the field!

Weeks 30 and 31

Science and Literacy
Last week the students worked on their ecosystem research report and some students successfully incorporated observational data from the final Zhudi Park nature study walk. All students were expected to verify the content of their reports with reliable published sources (book or website) or with their observation notes. Their research included reading about other species and their research organism’s relationship to them.

This week students are working on their final drafts of the report, adding illustrations and text features such as captions or insets. Students will present their research to the class as an expert on the topic in two weeks. The children learned a great deal about research and taking notes as they used library books, SAS research databases, and their own observations from their trips to Zhudi Park to learn about their chosen organism. They are learning how to write strong introductions, include important details about subtopics, and wrap up their findings with a powerful conclusion. Our final final field trip to Chenshan Botanical Gardens on Thursday was a great success with engagement, observations, and curiosity at an all-time high.  It was a wonderful way to wrap up our unit as a grade level. Once again, we want to thank all the parent chaperones who have helped us guide and teach the students during our trips to Zhudi Park and our trip to the Botanical Gardens.

Last week students learned how to represent a single set that includes two or three whole objects divided into equal parts.  They have transferred this knowledge into using number lines with starting points and ending points (linear progression), identifying the number of segments in the line and comparing it to the number of marks used to get those segments (hint, hint: n + 1 if you are starting at 0).

This week students continued to transfer their concrete knowledge of fractions to abstract representations of fractions on the number line.  Students have used concrete manipulatives such as fraction strips and fraction circles to solidify their understanding of fractions as parts of a whole.]

Next week students will use number lines to help compare fractions and calculate equivalent fractions.




Week 29

Science and Literacy
This week, students have continued to read and write about ecosystem-related topics. They are continuing to take notes and make connections. In addition, they are learning to paraphrase as they use their notes to compose a first draft. Students are also learning about organizing their reports and will soon be gathering photos in order to enhance and further illustrate their final reports. Students will also be preparing for the last Zhudi Park walk next week, which will allow them to make comparisons and connections to previous walks. After that, they will incorporate their field research  into their final reports and write conclusions about their findings.

Students have been working on dividing whole parts into equal parts to create fractional units (halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, etc).  This week students began to focus on using unit fractions  (½, ⅓, ¼, ⅙, etc) as the begin to build their understanding towards representing fractions on a number line.  Students learned the key vocabulary term “unit fraction” is used to represent the equal parts of a whole when drawing the picture.  Students learned that any fraction is composed of multiple unit fractions and they used number bonds to represent this fact. Students then extended their learning to construct fractions greater than 1 using multiple copies of a given unit fraction (5/4 is equal to ¼ + ¼ + ¼ + ¼ + ¼ ).

In Other News…
In case you missed Mr. Allen’s parent update, here is the information regarding class placement for 2016 – 2017.


During the upcoming weeks, teams of teachers and counselors will begin creating class lists for the 2015-16 school year. When planning classrooms for next year the homeroom teachers and counselors will divide the children into balanced groups. Class lists will then be posted the afternoon before the first day of school (August 10, 2016).

Creating well balanced, heterogeneous classroom groups is our comprehensive goal at SAS. Some, not all, of the more important factors in creating that balance include:

• balanced number of boys and girls

• strong English skills vs. less developed English skills

• a mix of students from varying academic levels

• a good social blend of students

• appropriate schedule accommodations for special services

• representation from various nationalities

• individual student issues

As all of our teachers are well-qualified and able to meet the needs of all students currently enrolled at SAS, we respectfully ask that parents do not make requests regarding a specific teacher.  All SAS students should be able to be successful in any one of our classroom communities.

As we want your child to flourish while attending Shanghai American School, your input as our partner in education is important.  If there is any important or relevant information that you think your classroom teacher or counselor may not have that you feel would be helpful to consider as we make placement decisions for next year, please pick up a ES Student Information for 2016-17 Classroom Placement Parent Form from the ES Office (or download it from here http://sites.saschina.org/espuxi/files/2016/04/Parent-Placement-Form-April-2016-PDF-1ehkemz.pdf) so it can be submitted to the ES Office prior to Friday, April 29, 2016.  The information you provide will be shared with the Classroom Placement Team which includes the current and future grade level teams, counselors, and administration.  

We have an excellent teaching team and we will ensure that your child is placed into a well-balanced classroom. We will take into account the information you provide when placing your child, however the information provided does not guarantee placement in a particular teacher’s classroom.

Week 28

This week, students have continued to read and write about ecosystem-related topics and they have used drawings, manipulative models, and explanations to demonstrate fraction concepts. The focus for the week, however, has been students’ reflection on their learning this year, particularly during the second term, in preparation for the student-led conferences. The students’ efforts to highlight their successes, describe challenges, and establish goals have been commendable.

Week 27

Students have chosen the organism that will be the subject of their research report, as we continue to tie reading and writing lessons to the ecosystems unit. This week, students are beginning to find resources.  They are learning how to learn the Dewey Decimal system to find library books about their subject, they are reading widely about ecosystem concepts that will guide their research, and they are starting to use online resources.  Students are reviewing text features and learning how to figure out if research material is at their reading level and can supply the information they need. We hope that students will continue to use the SAS library databases at home to read about their subject and take notes.

This past week, third grade students began exploring fractions!  The students are beginning to partition a whole into equal parts.  They are working on identifying and counting unit fractions using concrete models, pictures, and numerical representations so to a third grader this means PIZZA!  – and chocolate, and anything else you can share equally amongst yourself and friends.  Vocabulary that you may hear your student using includes ‘numerator’, ‘denominator’, ‘fractional unit’ (vs ‘unit fraction’), ‘equal parts’, and ‘partition’.  The growth in this unit will be apparent when your child is able to explain to you that the piece of pizza you just took was the larger one and why.  Happy fraction finding!

Students continue to explore during our Zhudi Park Nature Walks. They have continued collecting samples, making observations and writing questions for their upcoming research. As they have narrowed down what they will research, students have learned the difference between Qualitative Data (descriptive) and Quantitative Data (measurable) and practiced collecting both types on our walk in the park. Children were able to print photos from their outings and write captions on a classroom map of the park which allows everyone to see what is happening in a variety of areas of Zhudi Park.  Students also went to the library to practice using the Dewey Decimal system to find books related to their organism of choice.  Excitement is high as the children are seeing more and more changes with each outing and are looking forward to what the next week will bring.  THANK YOU to our awesome parent chaperones for taking the time to be a part of this learning!!

Curriculum Update:
Next week grade 3 will have a very busy week. With class rehearsals and visiting authors, teachers will have limited instruction time. Students will also be busy preparing for their student-led conferences which will be held after spring break. Please note that the homework may look a bit different to accommodate these changes in the schedule!

Remember that the 3rd graders will perform
An Aesop Adventure at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 25 in the PAC!  It should be a memorable performance and you are welcome to attend. Here is an invitation note from Ms. Earley:

An Aesop Adventure
Simple stories use animals as well as humans to present powerful and memorable messages about life!  Some of the stories presented will be:  The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Lion and the Mouse, The Ant and the Grasshopper, and more.  The children have been busy acting, speaking, dancing, and playing instruments.  Please ask your children if  they have a speaking part and, if so, help them practice and memorize their lines this weekend.  Thank you!