Dear families,

Welcome to Grade 3! It is a pleasure to be your child’s teacher this year. They are a lovely group and I’ve already noticed several budding friendships. We had a busy day and I expect they will be early to bed tonight.  They have a homework assignment which is to reflect on their first day of school.  It is no problem if they’re too tired to do it tonight – whatever feels right to you. On that same note, the Parent Info packet is lengthy and it is fine if you need an extra day to do that.

To introduce myself:  This is my fourth year teaching at SAS following 12 years in Northern California where I taught multiple grades, worked as a Reading Specialist, and did professional development for teachers across all grade levels, both in my school district and at the County Office of Education. In addition to a California Teaching Credential, I hold a Masters Degree in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction. It is a privilege to be teaching motivated, curious, and positive students here at SAS, as well as collaborating with such talented colleagues.

I am the mother of three wonderful boys (what else could I say), two of whom live in London and one who lives in San Francisco. This summer I traveled around the world! Beginning on the East Coast of the U.S., I visited NYC which is always good fun. Then I went to California to visit friends and my son Ben. For an adventure, I took a train from there to Big Sky Country, aka Montana, to experience Glacier National Park where I saw spectacular scenery and lots of wildlife. The most fun was horseback riding on a dude ranch!  After that, it was off to the U.K. to spend time with my sons, friends, and other family members. One of my favorite pastimes is hiking and England was the perfect place for that delight. SAS is such a wonderful place to work and Shanghai an exciting place to live, so I’m always glad to come home. It’s good to be back!

I look forward to getting to know you all, parents as well as students. I welcome open communication and invite you to contact me via email at: Ellen.Fryer@saschina.org.  If you would like to meet in person, please schedule a time in advance. I will always find a time that works for us both.

There will be information about what’s happening in our class and at the entire school on the Grade 3 blog:


There will be posts specific to our classroom on my blog:


Please note that the class schedule is at the top of the home page.

I look forward to a fantastic school year!

Warm regards,

Ellen Fryer

Grade 3 Teacher

SAS Pudong


School Year 2014-15

This Week

Dear Families,

As you know, this coming Friday, May 8th is our Spring Concert. It will be in the auditorium, beginning at 10:30.  Here is an updated costume request from Mrs. Wild:

The children will be rehearsing every day this week during the first period. Therefore, on Monday, May 4th they will not have PE, so no need for swimming gear.

Science Update:

The students will be constructing an eco-bottle which is a mini-ecosystem.

The eco-bottle is a model for the children to learn the connection between land and water. There will be three parts: water, soil, plants, and fish.

We will have multiple bio-bottles in the classroom and we will experiment with changing something in each bottle so the children can notice how one variable can affect the whole system. For example, does salt affect the plants’ growth, does adding fertilizer to the soil affect the quality of the water, what are ways to purify the water.  There are numerous ways to use this project as a learning tool. Of course, they’re also a lot of fun to build and observe.

Here’s where we need your help:

Please send a clean, label-free, 2-liter Coca-Cola bottle to school on Monday. If you don’t drink Coke, please just pour it out and send along the bottle. (Note: Grade 3 teachers have no stock in Coke. We just need identical bottles so they fit together.) As always, many thanks for your support.

Parent-Teacher Survey

Just a reminder to please take a few minutes to complete this survey. I would be most grateful.  Thank you!


News from 3EF

Dear Families,There’s lots to share, so get comfy and read on…..

Field Trip – Tuesday, April 28th

Firstly, many thanks to our parent volunteers who are accompanying us on this day. We couldn’t do it without you.

Goal: Students will be broken up into small groups to walk around the zoo.  They will look around to see which enclosures are in need of improvement.  As we are studying about ecosystems in science, we want students to think about what makes an environment optimal for its inhabitants.  Students will photograph some enclosures, take detailed notes of what is presently there, and what appears to be lacking. Towards the end of our science unit, using the knowledge from their studies, they will create a plan for a more appropriate enclosure/environment for one of the zoo habitats.

8:30am departure from school, estimated 10am arrival at Shanghai Zoo.
Afternoon, 1pm departure from Shanghai Zoo, estimated 2:15pm arrival back at school.

Students: Free

Students need to bring their own snacks, lunch, and drinks.  Students should use backpacks on the day to leave hands free for note and photo-taking.  Students may bring money to purchase additional treats, but they may not make purchases for other students, nor may they borrow money from others.

Contact number on the day:
My mobile is: 156-9218-4475

Our Learning at School:

Readers Workshop:
The new genre we are exploring in reading is Mysteries! Students will be in Book Clubs and talk daily about their reading. Students will learn to recognize the qualities of this genre and the active reader thinking it requires. In addition, they will learn to identify and gather clues to support solving a mystery. Teachers will develop the concepts of character, motives, and alibis, guiding students to grow their own theories. Students will work collaboratively constructing and justifying theories, and then substantiating their thinking with evidence from the text in both conversation and writing.

Writers Workshop:
Using the skills they learned in producing a report on a country, children are currently working independently on a research report on a subject of their own choosing, either on their own or with a partner. They are so engaged in this work that they beg to do it, including outside of writing time! It is a joy to behold watching their eager work, though a challenge for me to transition them to another subject – a happy teacher problem, indeed. The learning continues to be organization, beginning with expressing the main idea – a challenging part of the writing process for most children. Students will soon be stepping into a favorite unit of study: rewriting traditional tales, often referred to as ‘fractured fairy tales’, and producing them in the graphic novel, or comic format.  There will be more on that later.

In unit 10 of the Everyday Math program, children review and extend their previous work with measures of length, weight, and capacity. Measurements will be displayed in graphs and frequency tables. The emphasis is that anything that involves measures begins with the use of measuring tools! Children will also extend previous informal work with the median and mode of a set of data and introduce the standard method of calculating the mean. These statistical measures are used to analyze and compare measurement data. Unit 10 has three main areas of focus:
-To review units, tools, and measures of weight, length, and capacity,
-To introduce the mean of a set of data, and
-To gain experience with plotting points on a coordinate grid.

In this unit, Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, students will understand that all living things in the ecosystem are dependent on each other, and that humans have a positive and negative impact on the ecosystem.

Students will learn:
-What happens to ecosystems when the environment changes?
-How do organisms interact in groups so as to benefit individuals?
-How do organisms interact in order to benefit each other?
-What evidence shows that different species are related?

When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die. Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes. Students will also learn about fossils as they provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments.

Eagle’s Nest

We have gotten our very own planting bed for 3EF! In the next week, we will be loading soil into a raised bed and planting seeds for vegetables and flowers. We will research best practices, make observations, and have fun!

Parent-Teacher Survey

The survey is up on Power School and I would be most appreciative if you could take the time from your very busy lives to complete it. Getting your feedback is so valuable. Many thanks!

Treat Day – Thursday, April 30th, 5RMB

Spring Concert

10:30 am on May 8th. Here’s a request from Mrs. Wild:

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.54.24 PM

Student-Led Conferences & Some Dates to Remember

Hello Everyone,

Student-Led Conferences are fast approaching!  The children are finishing up their presentations and practicing what they will share with you.  I think you’ll be surprised and delighted at the level of maturity and poise they have when speaking about their own learning.  For those of you who are new to SAS, here is what to expect when you come to a student-led conference.

1.  Your child is completely in charge. Although we provide a checklist for them to cover, he/she will be doing almost all the speaking during the conference.

2.  Your child will showcase work they have done over the school year, and also share some reflections on their learning.

3.  Different from the fall conference, spring conference time is considered to be “hands-off” for the classroom teacher.  I will be there to answer clarifying questions, but essentially your child will lead.  If you would like to schedule another appointment to meet privately about your child’s progress, please do so.

4.  Ask questions as you go…make this a conversation about learning, and an opportunity to praise progress.

Please check your scheduled conference time so that you may enjoy the entire conference period with your child.  We will have part of the conference in the classroom for quiet presentations, and some “noisier” activities in the project area.  In total, you will need about 20-30 minutes for the regular classroom.  Don’t forget to leave time to visit the specialists!  If you have questions please let me know.

See you on Thursday or Friday!

Dates to Remember

– Books to Eat! Monday April 20th for 2nd and 3rd grades. Please see the library blog for more information.

– Spring MAP Testing for 3rd grade! April 22nd-24th.

– Date with Dad! Friday April 24th…more information coming later for sign-ups.

– Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon – April 27th

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT “DAY” CHANGE:  Since we changed the original date for Student-Led conferences, the School Calendar needed adjusting. Hence, April 17th will now be a Day 5. Everything else remains the same.


School Event Update

Greetings Parents:

It’s wonderful to be back! Hopefully, you had a good break.  Here’s some news:

Student-Led Parent Conferences

All families can sign up beginning tomorrow, April 1.

Korean Treat Day

When: Thursday, April 2 from 10 am – 2pm
Where: Front of HS cafeteria and inside ES cafeteria
What: Will be selling popular Korean food:
1) Bulgoogi
2) Chapchae
3) Dukboki
4) Spicy chicken tender
5) Korean snacks

We look forward to seeing you!!

Spring Concert

Spring Concert Poster Final

(Click on poster to enlarge)

Rock n’ Roll Fun Run

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 6.23.44 PM

(Click on poster to enlarge)

Happy Spring Break!

Dear Families,

The children have earned a well deserved rest.  Here are some of the things we’ve been doing.

Language Arts and Social Studies:   In our integrated unit, they have been working away at creating a report about the cultural aspects of our host country, China.  In cooperative groups, the students did research online as well as from the many books in our library.  Today they put the final touches on each of the chapters and began the task of typing. Tomorrow they will add images to complete this project.  When they return from Spring Break, the children will pair up and begin the process of writing a report about a different country.

Math: As you noticed from the homework, we began the unit on fractions this week. It might be fun to keep that in mind and find ways to bring awareness of this concept into your child’s real life situations. They will continue learning about fractions when we return from break.  Please have them continue to practice math facts, both multiplication and division – a great opening activity when they want to play on the iPad.

Some updates:

If you ordered a class photo, you will receive it shortly after we return.  As your child may have told you, two of the children had their eyes closed so I asked the photographer to find a better image and he is redoing them. They will be delivered to SAS just after break.

ASA Sign-Ups:  The deadline for sign-ups is tomorrow.

Report Cards:   They will go online on Power School tomorrow at 3pm.

Please make sure your children make time to read every day.  Time off from school is such a great opportunity to do lots more reading on their own, share a read-aloud with you, and have a book talk. Asking them questions that require inference is an invaluable practice that will help them enormously with reading comprehension.

It is such a pleasure teaching this perfectly delightful class and your support is so valued.  Thank you for all you did for Staff Appreciation Week.  The multiple PTSA feasts and gifts, and most of all the heart warming notes from the children were so appreciated.  Have a wonderful Spring Break and see you for conferences early April.

Warm regards,

Ellen Fryer



News From 3EF

Hello dear families,

I hope you had a restful and/or interesting Chinese New Year holiday.  I had the supreme pleasure of traveling with my eldest son to Kunming and Myanmar. It was spectacular for the sightseeing and even more so for the lovely memories made with my son.  Surely you’ve heard this before: the years fly by as they get older so do enjoy every minute with your lovely children while they’re still in the nest.

Here’s what we’re up to:


In this unit our readers will be focusing on several skill areas concerning nonfiction.  Although not a new genre for this school year, we will be practicing note taking skills, learning how to skim, and using text features to gain meaning.  Students will also be learning/reviewing research skills by accessing resources from our databases with expert instruction from our technology teacher, Mrs. Hossack.  Our librarian, Mrs. Power, will be assisting us in teaching the students to use a variety of sources to find the best and most important information for our research.  By integrating this nonfiction reading unit with our social studies and writing units students can get the most out of their time and effort.  We look forward to bringing all these things together to produce a great unit of study across many subjects!


The new writing unit is Informational Writing. Students will be writing texts to teach others about topics that they have studied. This writing unit blends the non-fiction research skills students gain from readers workshop along with learning about cultures around the world in social studies. They will ultimately draft and publish an informational report in the form of an iBook. We will be teaching students the organization and structure of an expository piece. We will also be learning newer, more complex revision strategies. Furthermore, as we guide students through preparing for publication, we will emphasize the importance of being aware of one’s audience, using text features, fact checking, and thorough editing for accurate grammar and conventions.


We are wrapping up Unit 7 which has the following focus: extend the basic multiplication and division skills that students learned at the beginning of the year. We are looking at multiplication and division patterns, extending basic multiplication facts, and estimation (including knowing when it’s appropriate) and then practice making estimates of costs. We will move directly into Unit 9 and then do a combined assessment for both units. This unit covers multiplying and dividing with multiples of 10, 100, and 1,000, using mental math to multiply and finding products of 2-digit numbers. As always, our approach is to teach math conceptually so the students have a deeper understanding of what’s “behind” the algorithm and thus be able to explain their thinking. The children have done a fantastic job on learning their multiplication facts. We now move on to division facts so please encourage your child to spend time each day practicing in whatever way they prefer.

Social Studies

Over the next several weeks in Social Studies, students will be applying reading skills and strategies to explore the question, “How do traditional beliefs influence a culture’s clothing, diet, shelter, and celebrations?” They will describe how cultural practices reflect tradition, identify needs that are common across cultures, and describe similarities and differences in the way cultural groups meet those needs.To wrap up their inquiry, students will show evidence of their understanding by publishing an iBook on a culture of their choice.

As always, please feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions or concerns.



3EF News

Dear Parents,

It is amazing how much the children have blossomed since Winter Break. They not only look older, but the level of maturity has changed dramatically. We’ve welcomed two new students, Ivan and Edward. In spite of the spate of illness, it’s been a lovely time in 3EF with this excellent class. I feel so incredibly lucky to be their teacher.


As you can see from their homework assignment book, all they have to do for tonight is read (as always), practice math facts, and do the sections on IXL for geometry.  Here they are again:  R.1,R.2,R.3,R.5,R.6,R.19-R.22,R.25, O.1

They will do the Writing Prompt for homework tomorrow night. On Wednesday, they will receive instructions about the final project for the science unit, Physics of Sound. Please look out for this as this is something they will do at home.  For this reason, they will not be doing the Literacy – Tic-Tac-Toe, homework at all this week.  Each night, they still need to read at least 20 minutes and do a math assignment.


If you want a class photo, please be sure to send in the form and RMB by Wednesday, which is when our class is scheduled to be photographed. Of course, your child will be in the photo regardless of whether you make a purchase.

Save-the Date:

On Friday, February 13th, at 1:30pm, we will have a publishing party to culminate the Poetry Unit. We hope you can come to hear your children share their own poems as well as recite their favorite published poems.

Chinese New Year

There will be an assembly and Culture Fair on Monday, February 9th. Details are on the ES Blog. Children are encouraged to wear traditional Chinese dress or red-colored clothes. This day’s activities is a way we learn about and honor our host country. You are most welcome to join us. Also, please let me know if your family is leaving early for the holiday.

Quiz Night

For those of you new to SAS or if you missed this event last year, I highly recommend it. All of us, faculty and parents alike, have a wonderful time. It’s a lot of laughs, good food, and a relaxed time to get to know one another. I’m looking forward to it!

Warm regards,

Ellen Fryer



News From 3EF

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. It’s good to be back with your lovely children. May the new year be a happy and healthy one.  Here’s an update on what we are doing:

Homework Change for 3rd grade:

Tonight your child will be bringing home a Writing Prompt Journal.  Each Monday they are expected to choose one prompt from the “BINGO” style board.  After they complete that piece of writing, cross off the box so it is not done twice.  There are a variety of writing opportunities on the board to choose from. Our goals for the students are to:

1.)  Teach them to write to a given prompt as this is something on many standardized tests.
2.)  Increase their writing opportunities to include more variety than just our units of study in the classroom.  3.)  Review writing styles/genres to continue to hone skills.  4.)  Have additional writing to discuss during our writing conferences in the classroom.

This type of writing, and amount of writing, can take some getting used to. We’ve encouraged students to use time that would be considered “down” for thinking about and planning their writing.  Bus/car rides can provide a quiet area to think about possible stories, story order, and even some details to include.  Please do not do more than one prompt per week, and please return whatever they have finished on Tuesday.

If there comes a Monday that life gets in the way of homework…as it happens sometimes…please send me an email so I can extend the Monday writing to Tuesday.

Thanks so much and enjoy reading these wonderful stories!


We have begun a new science unit called Physics of Sound. In this unit, students will investigate the fundamental principles of sound generation, how sound travels, and some of the physical characteristics of the energy form we call sound. This is typically an exciting unit for students. Over the next four weeks they will engage in active investigations of vibrating systems and musical instruments to see what they can find out about pitch and volume, and how to control or modify systems to control the sounds they make. This is the basic premise of music. Students will conclude the unit by making a musical instrument of their own.


We started our new math unit on Geometry this week and will continue until the CNY holiday. The students began by learning about points, line segments, rays, and lines. They have enjoyed the hands-on experience of experimenting with the geometric figures that can be built from them. This includes angles, polygons, and frames for prisms and pyramids.  They will explore polygons, including triangles and quadrangles. In addition, they will learn to draw and measure angles. The children are working hard to learn all the multiplication facts.  We are doing daily time-tests and they are excited about the ice-cream sundae party we will have to celebrate their success.  Please support your child by reminding them to practice the facts EVERY day.  Our next unit is multiplication and division so this fact-learning project is preparing them for success.

Readers and Writers Workshop

Today we started our poetry unit where we will integrate reading and writing poems. The students will read and listen to many poems. They will choose their favorites and we will create a class anthology. The students will then choose one poem that they really love and memorize it. The focus for poetry writing is for students to enhance their use of figurative and sensory language.  They are encouraged to touch on topics that are meaningful to them. It was so much fun to watch them today as they began to explore poetry. They were so excited! They clamored to share their favorite poem with the class and some children even asked if they could write a poem for homework. What a joy it is to teach this class!

Spirit Week is Coming Soon  – Start planning your School Spirit outfits!
Monday, January 26th – Pajama Day
Tuesday, January 27th – Loony Toons or Cartoon Day
Wednesday, January 28th – Wild Wednesday
Thursday, January 29th – Sports Day
Friday, January 30th – House Day/Eagle Pride Day

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