This week, we began looking deeper into the characters in our stories. We discussed the difference between character traits and emotions. Also, we discussed the difference between internal and external traits. The students learned that external traits help us picture what characters look like, but internal traits are what help us truly get to know a character. We started the week with a discussion about Mrs. Keilty's personality traits. Then, the students created a word cloud that shared the traits they felt best described them. In reading groups, we will begin identifying traits that describe the characters in our stories and supporting our choices with evidence from the text.
We have instituted a new way to reinforce the kind, helpful and positive behaviors demonstrated daily by the students in 3S. The students can earn "behavior bucks" and improve their standing on the class behavior chart by demonstrating exceptional behavior. As the year progresses, the students will have opportunities to spend their bucks on a trip to the prize box or on a special privilege like lunch with a teacher or being a guest reader in another class. The students will also receive certificates each day they earn an outstanding ranking on our class behavior chart. Keep on the lookout for one of these certificates in your child's communication folder!
Each night, the students should bring home an envelope of their addition and subtraction facts to practice. this envelope should be returned to school each day with an adult's signature verifying that the flash cards were practiced at home the previous night. Our goal is to have every student 100% fluent with all addition and subtraction facts by the end of the month. This is an ambitious, but attainable goal!
The students got a better understanding of rubrics while designing one to help them determine the best chocolate chip cookie. The students were tasked with identifying important criteria, and determining the descriptors for each level of the criteria. After working together to create the rubric, the students evaluated several different chocolate chip cookies. They assessed each cookie's sugar content, taste, diameter, softness, and number of chocolate chips. They learned that by using the rubric, they could easily identify areas of strength for each cookie and areas of weakness. Then, we discussed how the cookie rubric relates to our academic rubrics. Everyone had fun debating their decisions, while munching on some yummy cookies!
We officially started our first Next Generation Science Standards unit this week! We will be working with Mrs. Quinn's class to participate in lessons that focus on the movement and interaction of objects. Here are a few pictures of the third graders working as secret detective, recording what they notice and what they wonder about the odd motions of several different objects.
Wednesday's Harvest Luncheon was an absolute success! Thank you to everyone who was able to attend. This was such a special day for our students. They showed great pride in their garden and the foods that they helped prepare. I hope our special visitors enjoyed being a part of this wonderful day as much as we did!
Your child should have brought home a reading log this week. It is the children's responsibility to keep track of their reading every night by recording the number of minutes read. The students should read a minimum of 100 minutes each week, and return their log to school on Tuesdays. I look froward to seeing the the books students are choosing to read at home!
Also, the students had their first spelling/vocabulary assessment this week. They did exceptionally well on their spelling words and recalling the definitions of the vocabulary words. Please look for a new list to come home at the beginning of every week, and know that the students will be tested on the list at the end of the week.
If you ask the kids, the highlight of this week was probably Open House. The third graders worked hard to complete their Google Drawings listing some of their favorite things in life. This was the students' first Google Assignment, and they quickly proved that they were up for the challenge. They learned how to adjust text size and font, as well as create and manipulate text boxes. These basic skills will become very important as the year progresses, and we use Chromebooks more often in the classroom.
This week, the students were introduced to partner reading. This is a cooperative learning strategy in which two students work together to read a text. The students learned that it is important to sit close to their partner, and hold the text where both can easily see it. Also, we discussed the importance of staying focused and taking on the role of a teacher when a partner is struggling to read a portion of the text. Partner reading is a great way for students to improve their reading fluency, while working on their decoding skills.
Our first math unit is now in full swing. The students have been brushing off the addition and subtraction cobwebs, as they have begun adding and subtracting numbers within 1,000. The students are using multiple strategies to add two and three digit numbers. They are also becoming more comfortable using a blank number line to solve subtraction and missing addend problems. Over the next few weeks, the students will be keeping track of the number of items in our class collection. The students decided to collect coins. Our goal is to collect 1,000 coins. The amazing kids in 3S decided they wanted to collect the coins, and then donate our collection to a worthy charity. I reminded everyone that they should ask a parent before donating coins to the class collection.
Finally, the class has completed the lengthy process of creating our own 3S constitution. We spent some time learning about our US constitution. Then, working in groups, the students wrote "laws" for us to adhere to. These laws will help us be kind, respectful learners.
Reading Centers in the gym while awaiting individual photographs
This week we spent time discussing what a "successful learner" looks and sounds like. Often, we assume that kids innately know how to be a student. The truth is, understanding how to learn is just as important as learning to write a paragraph or multiply. The third graders worked together to list attributes of a successful learner. One common theme was focus. We discussed how important it is for students to remain focused on learning during lessons and when working with others. We practiced showing focus by keeping our eyes on the speaker, making sure our discussions focuses on the learning target, and asking questions to deepen our understanding.
Also, we talked about how we can set ourselves up to be successful readers. One aspect we investigated was reading at home. The students discussed how important it is to have a quiet, comfortable spot at home. A place where they can read for at least twenty, uninterrupted minutes each night. We discussed how it is important to have several high interest, just right books within reach when reading. It was wonderful to hear that many students in our class already have a spot like this at home. I encouraged everyone to talk with their parents about making sure their reading spot at home is setting them up for success.
This is my 13th year of teaching, and it still amazes me just how fast the first few weeks of school pass! This week was filled with practicing many routines which will enable us to be successful this year.
The students did a terrific job decorating and organizing their writing notebooks with things that will spark ideas for many stories. A favorite activity this week, was getting familiar with the chromebooks. The students are excited to have graduated from iPads to computers. They have learned how to care for their computers, and navigate our Google Classroom account to find and bookmark several educational websites that we will utilize throughout the year.
The students have learned how to select a "just right" book using the Five Finger Test, and each child has discovered a book from our classroom library that is interesting and appropriately challenging for them. We have determined the differences between real reading and fake reading, and the students enjoyed modeling examples of each.
In math, the students have been participating in the math workshop. They understand that while working with a partner, their discussions should focus on their mathematical thinking. We are also revisiting addition and subtraction facts that they worked so hard on in second grade. Soon, each child will have a collection of "need to know" addition and subtraction facts that should be reviewed daily.
I have truly enjoyed getting to know each student in class these last few days. I am overjoyed to know that this year's third graders are an amazing collection of bright, funny, independent, helpful, and kind young people. I look forward to this year, and can't wait to see the them grow as the year progresses.
We had a terrific time hiking the trails and learning about how animals have adapted to live in their habitat.