Week of May 27

Social Studies and Literacy

Students continued their research  on their biography subject this week. Some of them presented to their peers via report or Keynote. They will continue their presentations next week as we wrap up this unit  in order to provide enough time for other end of the year activities and projects.

Math 

This week students began the last unit of 3rd grade math in Geometry.  We explored polygons, quadrilaterals and quadrangles by categorizing them based on their different attributes.  We also explored tetrominoes as a precursor to tessellation.  We learned how to fit the tetrominoes together to make regular shapes like squares and rectangles.  Next week we will extend our knowledge by working with tessellations and complete the unit on Geometry by the end of the week.  

Coming up! 3rd Grade Camp SAS CAMP:

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.”

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.

If you have two large tents that can be set up in the classroom please let me know. Please send in tents on or or before  Wednesday, June 3rd.

Week of May 13

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.

Math

Many of the classrooms in third grade spent math time reviewing and assessing what students learned about fractions.  Our unit culminated in a variety of small, hands-on activities that include breaking up chocolate bars and using classroom supplies like pencils or crayons to examine fractions in our every-day life.  Our next Module in math examines data – how to collect it, analyze, and interpret it.  Watch for survey questions coming home, trends your student needs to observe and a LOT of graphs!  

Other Business:

Reminder:

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 of April 22

Science and Literacy 
This week the students started working on their final ecosystem research project and presentation – be in poster, report, or Keynote format. They used library books; SAS research databases, and their own observations from their trips to Zhudi Park to work on their chosen organism. This project incorporates all their field research and observations together with comparisons with other species and their personal connections to them. They also learned how to write strong introductions to get their readers’ and/or listeners’ attention and powerful conclusions to their research projects. As a culminating activity to this Literacy and Science Integrated Lessons, the students will wrap this up with a final field trip to Chenshan Botanical Gardens next week. We hope to can join us then one more time. Once again, we want to thank all the parent chaperones that have assisted us in all our trips to Zhudi Park.

Math 

Fractions have been a lot of fun to learn about these past few weeks!  We have extended student learning past a single whole to now include two or three whole objects and dividing them up into equal parts.  We have transferred this knowledge into using number lines with starting points and ending points (linear progression) and therefore identifying the number of segments the line has been broken into versus the number of marks we used to get those segments (hint, hint: n + 1 if you are starting at 0!).  Next week your child will explore more fractional strategies on the number line that include estimating and equivalent fractions.

In Other News…

We have our Chenshan Botanical Gardens field trip on the 28th of April!  If the weather is overcast and damp we will still go.  However, if it is pouring rain we will not go and instead have a normal teaching day in school and unfortunately we won’t be able to reschedule the trip SO HOPE FOR NO RAIN!!  We plan to leave from school no later than 8:30am on the buses and we will return by 2:00pm.  PLEASE PACK A SNACK AND LUNCH FOR YOUR CHILD!

For reference, here is what our day on the field trip will look like:

8:25 – leave SAS

9:00 – arrive Chenshan Garden

9:15 – 9:45 – visit one biodome

9:45 – 10:00 – snack

10:00 – 10:30 – visit second biodome

10:30 – 11:00 visit third biodome

11:00 – 11:30 – decide which area of the park to explore and walk there (ride may be an option)

11:30 – 12:00 – explore the area

12:00 – 12:30 – lunch, including 15 min free play in the area

12:30 – 1:00 – walk back to the main entrance

1:10 – board bus and return to SAS

Week of March 25

Literacy

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. 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. Students have been prepping for deeper research by participating in a non-fiction book club with their peers.

Math

Third grade has been busy learning how to divide objects into equal parts that can be represented by fractions. This past week we focused on partitioning a whole into equal parts – fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, and tenths. We have also begun to find simple equivalent fractions like two eighths is the same as one fourth.  Students have also learned how to properly define sections by the unit fraction.  For example, a whole pizza from Papa John’s comes divided into 10 equal slices, therefore the unit fraction is tenths of the whole.  If students each gets 2/10 of the whole, then their fractional unit (or proportional part of the whole) is two tenths or one fifth.  

Science

Students continue to explore Zhudi Park and examine their living organism further on our weekly Nature Walks. They have continued collecting samples, making observations and writing questions for their upcoming research. Excitement continues to be high as the children are seeing more and more changes with each outing and are looking forward to what the next week will bring. Hopefully the weather during our next outing will be warmer.  THANK YOU to our awesome parent chaperones for taking the time to be a part of this learning!!

OTHER BUSINESS:

March 25, 2016

Hello Parents!

Students are preparing for student-led conferences on April 7th and April 8th. Since these are student-led conferences, you and your child should show up together for the time that you have scheduled.

Thursday, April 7th is a regular FULL school day with a small amount of time built in for conferencing after school.  On Friday, April 8th there is NO SCHOOL for students as teachers will be conferencing all day, which allows for flexible times.

These conferences are designed to celebrate your child’s successes.  Students are currently preparing their presentations and will be ready to showcase their knowledge. This is a conference between you and your child. I will be in the classroom but since this is student-led, your child will be in the driver’s seat. This is a time for your child to share his/her successes in class. 

If you have not signed up for the Student-Led Conference, please do so on Power School.

Thanks,

The Third Grade Team

 

Week of March 18

Literacy 

Students have chosen the organism that will be the subject of their research report, as we can 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.

Math 

This past week, third grade students began exploring fractions!  The students are beginning to specify and 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 when your student is able to explain to you that the piece of pizza you just took was the larger one and why.  Happy fraction finding!

Science

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 (description) 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 caption them 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 look up books related to their organism of choice this week.  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!!

OTHER BUSINESS

Remember that the 3rd graders will perform Aesop’s Tales at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 25 in the PAC!  It should be a memorable performance and you are welcome to attend.

Week of March 11

Literacy

As students choose an organism for their ecosystems study (one they have observed during the Zhudi Park nature walks), they will be conducting research on that organism and its environmental needs. They will be collecting observational data at the park and reading both intensively and extensively as they delve more deeply into nonfiction writing. To launch this research project, students have been reading more about ecosystems and learning how to use the Dewey Decimal system to find nonfiction resources in the library. Later on, they will also learn more about using the library databases and Internet searches. They are continuing to learn how to take notes when making observations in the field, when reading texts, and when watching videos pertaining to ecosystems. Students have also been revisiting Todd Parr’s books in anticipation of his visit the week of March 21st.

Math

Our current Module on finding the area of given spaces comes to a close this week with a Module assessment.  Students worked tirelessly on finding the area and then multiplying two sides of a given rectangular shape so as to calculate the area of it accurately.  They learned that they could use the distributive property to add to a shape if it was irregular.  This then led to a subtraction problem from the whole rectangle to find the new area of an “L”, “H” or “U” shaped room, pool, or object.  Whew!  See the video example below by a lovely Ms. Minicozzi who teaches us in just 2 minutes what we’ve been practicing all week in our classrooms: https://youtu.be/hqqtumES-rQScience

During our nature walks, students have been busy collecting samples, making observations and writing questions for their upcoming research. This week students will chose an organism that they are interested in for their research report. Students are also busy preparing their minds to read, find information, and take notes related to their topics. Concepts such as interesting vs important, cause/effect, problem solution will be discussed in class using research articles. These concepts will help support students in their report writing. Students also continued using the library to look up books related to their organism of choice.

HOMEWORK:

Third grade homework is at least twenty minutes of independent reading AND thirty minutes of additional homework Monday-Thursday…this includes Chinese or EAL/Learning Support.  

Chinese homework is designated for Tuesday and Thursdays so homeroom work should ONLY include at least 20 minutes of reading and a math reinforcement problem or basic math fact review.

At times, if necessary, students who DO NOT finish classwork may be expected to finish it at home.   

There is NO homework assigned on the weekends.   

 

If, at ANY time, it takes your child longer than the allotted 30 minutes, please tell your child to turn in ONLY what they were able to complete in the 30 minute time frame.  You know your child best and understand their breaking point in the evenings after a long day of school and activities.  Homework should NEVER be a big point of contention because you and your child know their limit.

 

Your child will be responsible for using the provided assignment book to record homework at the end of each day.  This book must travel to and from school each day.  The assignment book will also be a way for us to communicate.  Please feel free to write me a note any time you need to, and I will do the same.  Please support your child by reviewing his/her homework and assignment book.

Week of March 4

Literacy

As we look toward research as the focus for third grade reading and writing during our current ecosystems unit, students have been learning how to take observational notes and how to write scientific questions. In addition, various readings in class are providing students with some of the background information they need to better understand the concepts of environmental change, interdependency, and species characteristics that we are emphasizing during this integrated unit.

Math

This week students began to manipulate rectangular arrays to apply a variety of multiplication properties.  This helped them find the area of rectangles with different side lengths (perimeter) as well as solve for a variety of side lengths given a standard area unit (e.g. “Show a shape that has an area of 24 sq. in.”).  Students used both the distributive and associative property of multiplication when solving.  Students also used Geoboards online to apply their knowledge of these two properties.

Science

We’ve launched our new Ecosystem unit during which students continue to look at how scientists make observations and collect data in the field.   We ventured out on our first “Nature Walk” to Zhudi Park and were excited to see all of the organisms and ecosystems that exist just down the road from SAS.  A big “Thank You” to those parents who volunteered their time to help students on these walks.  Students unpacked their observations and details from their Science Journals, as well as the physical samples and photos that they brought back with them.  We will be setting off again next week to observe changes and narrow down the area and organism that student groups plan on studying.  Please keep in mind that we will have to find alternate dates for a given Nature Walk in the event of heavy rain or high pollution. If an alternate date is necessary, we will try to notify volunteers as soon as a decision is made about postponement.

Week of February 26

Literacy

Students have finished their realistic fiction stories, and they celebrated!  The final products reflect many hours of planning, drafting, revising, and editing their work.  They are also wrapping up the realistic fiction reading unit, and recent assessments show that they know a lot more about story development, story elements, and features of the realistic fiction genre than they did at the beginning of the unit.  Their reading skills growth were products of two weeks of book club reading with their peers. I continue to highly recommend that you talk to your child about the books that they are reading at home to help solidify their reading comprehension skills. Starting next week, they will be reading nonfiction related to ecosystems concepts, and most of their reading and writing will connect to this science unit during the coming weeks. 

Math

Students have been busy, busy, busy finding the area of rectangles of varying sizes and shapes.  The purpose of doing so is to have students use tools like a ruler or meter stick to make equal-sized squares in centimeters, inches, or feet within a larger rectangle.  After students completed the interior of the rectangle they measured, they then were tasked with looking back at it to identify the side measurements and come up with a number sentence that represented their shapes.  For example, if their rectangle had 36 square centimeters and one side was 6 square centimeters long, the multiplication sentence looked like 6cm x 6cm = 36cm.  Likewise, if students decided to write a division number sentence, it was 36cm / 6cm = 6cm.  Next week, teachers and students will focus on applying the distributive property of multiplication to two sets of rectangles with different areas and identifying the larger area when both objects are put together.

Science

We’ve launched our new Ecosystem unit during which students continue to look at how scientists make observations and collect data in the field. Students have started watching a variety of videos from Planet Earth and BBC Life in order to begin practicing the skill of recording their observations.  This will be incredibly helpful as we set off on our first of five nature walks to Zhudi Park next week.  A big “Thank You” to those parents who have volunteered their time to help students with this project.  Please keep in mind that we will have to find alternate dates for a given Nature Walk in the event of heavy rain or high pollution. If an alternate date is necessary, we will try to notify volunteers as soon as a decision is made about postponement.

Week of February 19

Welcome to school everyone and Happy New Year of the Monkey!

Literacy

As they prepare for the Writers Celebration on Monday, the students continued with editing and revising their own realistic fiction stories. They also conferred with the teacher and peers to enhance elements of their stories with descriptive words, interesting vocabularies, and good dialogues between characters. We ended the week with the students publishing their pieces and ready for sharing next week. In reading, the students started their first Book Club session this week. Great conversations took place between them as they talk about the books.

Math

This week 3rd graders began a new unit in multiplication and area.  We introduced area as the two-dimensional surface that is contained within a plane figure and, in our case, generally a rectangular one.  We’ve used square centimeter and square inch units to tile rectangles with no gaps or overlaps.  Additionally, students have made predictions and explored the area of rectangles with different dimensions.  Students are beginning to transfer the knowledge they’ve gained from using tiles to distinguish between length and area by using a ruler with the same size units (inches or centimeters) next to a tiled array.  This helps them to discover that the number of tiles along a side corresponds to the length of the side.  When you have the time, come and visit our classroom and ask the students about their very own “Dream Houses” with clearly designated dimensions for each room.

Science

We have have wrapped up our Forces and Motion unit, assessing student understanding of the experiments and observations. We launched our new Ecosystem unit during which students are looking at how scientists make observations and collect data in the field. Students will be watching a variety of videos from Planet Earth and BBC Life and making observations about how organisms interact in an ecosystem. Please ask your child about how scientists make good observations.

Other Business:

Science/Nature Walks

Teachers are still looking for chaperones for the nature walks to Zhudi Park. Ideally, each class will need 4-5 volunteers. A big THANK YOU to parents who have volunteered to lead a nature walk group on a weekly basis. Although we would prefer to have volunteers commit to all of the walks in order to maintain the continuity of learning, please let us know if you can attend only several walks and we will try to accommodate you. All volunteers need to attend the parent orientation meeting in the 3AK classroom (224) at 10:00-10:30 on Thursday, February 25.  Thanks again!

Happy New Year of the Monkey!

If you’re traveling, safe travels. If not, I hope you get the chance to relax. Enjoy the holiday with family and friends and I will see all your children on February 15th. Here’s a video of our ES Chinese New Year Assembly today:

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