• Early November

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 11/8/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter 

    Third Grade 

      

    Reminders 

    • Thank you to everyone who donated items and/or their time to make our Halloween party such a memorable time!  An extra thanks goes to Lisa for planning and organizing it! 
    • Mrs. Fichthorn is searching for more volunteers for the Book Fair.  Please email her at n.fichthorn@loma.k12.ca.us if you are interested in helping.  Please see below for more information about the Book Fair 
    • Tomorrow, Tue. 11/13, Wed. 11/14, Thur. 11/15 and Fri. 11/16 are conference days, so dismissal will be at 12:30.  I will be handing out report cards at the conference. 
    • No school on Monday 11/12 in honor of Veterans’ Day. 

     
     

    Language Arts 

    We have started a new unit in Reading all about reading nonfiction.  This week we learned how to look at text features like table of contents and glossary before starting a book to help our brains warm up.  When starting a new section or chapter, we read the subtopic titles, look closely at pictures/graphics, and read captions. The students were asked to check out a nonfiction book at the library because, starting next week, the students will be required to read a nonfiction text for at least 15 minutes during Readers’ Workshop.  They are welcome to also bring nonfiction books from home. 

    Our nonfiction theme has carried over into Writing with us starting our informative writing unit.  We’ve been doing a good amount of nonfiction writing with our small moment stories from our lives, but now our writing purpose has changed from telling a story to teaching the reader about a topic.  The students will be working on a writing piece for the next few weeks, even into January, focusing on a topic of their choice. This week we chose our topics and wrote out five main ideas that we will address in five paragraphs.  About many students chose a specific animal as their topic, while others went for a major event, person, game, and even an instrument. They’ve had great fun so far, some even checking books out of the library, so they can provide interesting, relevant details to support their main ideas.  I can’t wait to see how these turn out. 

     

    Math 

    We took our final quiz for the end of our second module and the students did a great job!  As I watched the students work this morning, I was so impressed with the number of kids using their notebooks and the available manipulatives to aid them in their process.  We’ve been working very hard on our regrouping skills in addition and decomposing skills in subtraction. Next week we will be jumping back into multiplication and division for Module 3. 

     

    Social Studies 

    I am both thrilled and saddened that our projects are completed and tested!  The students did an amazing job last week during our afternoon-long construction time.  A big thank you to Dru, Kristina, Therese, and Laura for coming to help use make our plan a reality!  It was a fun (and exhausting) time for all! On Tuesday of last week, the students gave polite and insightful compliments and suggestions to one another during our fishbowl activity.  We used the sentence frames I like____ and I wonder_____ to share our thoughts in an encouraging way.  Earlier this week the students had the chance to tweak their project based on their classmates’ feedback.  On Tuesday we discussed how we wanted to test the durability of our shelters using fair and scientific methods.  Yesterday was the big day and we had a ball testing our structures twice. The first test was a gentle rain, 10 sprays from a spray bottle directly overhead.  The second was a 3 second douse from a watering can. There were many successes and failures, but we all had a great attitude no matter what our outcome. Finally, we pondered what sort of changes would we make to our design if we were to do it again, an important step for any engineer/architect.  I’m pleased the students enjoyed the unit and project so much! 

      

    Book Fair Info from Mrs. Fichthorn 

    The Book Fair is Coming!  The Scholastic Book Fair is the sole fundraiser for both Loma and CTE libraries.  Please come by next week to purchase books for your child or your child’s teacher's classroom!  If you are unable to physically come to our fair, please consider supporting us online and your books will be delivered to the school, free of charge, after Thanksgiving. 

    Tuesday Nov. 13th:  12-4pm 

    Wednesday Nov. 14th:  7:45am-8:15am AND 12-4pm 

    Thursday Nov. 15th:  7:45am-8:15am AND 12-5pm 

    Also, the online book fair is open from now until November 17th!  Any purchases made online still helps our school libraries.  Online book purchases are delivered to the school free of charge after the Thanksgiving holiday.  The online fair can be found via: http://www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/  where you enter our zip code to find our school fair 

    OR click the exact link:  https://bookfairs.scholastic.com/bookfairs/cptoolkit/homepage.do?method=homepage&url=lomaprieta&appesp=CPT/ib/20120101///txtl/FairFindertoHomepage 

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at:  n.fichthorn@loma.k12.ca.us 

    Comments (-1)
  • Late October

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 10/25/2018 3:00:00 PM
    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter 
    Third Grade 
     
     
      
    Reminders (please read carefully)
    • We are going to be starting a fun building project on MONDAY the 29th.  Students need to bring natural materials found around their neighborhood (sticks, bark, etc.).  Today I will send home a paper copy of the instructions. I also attached a PDF to this email. 
    • Conference papers are going home today.  Please look over your time and turn in the paper ASAP.  I will be emailing parents to reschedule any necessary conference times next week. 
    • Tomorrow is Crazy Sock Day!  I will also be out, so there will be a sub. 
    • Wednesday the 31st is Halloween and students are invited to wear costumes.  No prop weapons or violent costumes will be allowed at school. Masks can be worn during the Halloween parade, but not during the rest of the school day.  Students will be dismissed at 12:30. 
    • No school on 11/1 and 11/2 for students due to staff only work days.
    • Fri. 11/9, Tue. 11/13, Wed. 11/14, Thur. 11/15 and Fri. 11/16 are conference days, so dismissal will be at 12:30. 
    • No school on Monday 11/12 in honor of Veterans’ Day. 
       
     
     
    Language Arts 
    The book reports turned out so well!  The student did a great job summarizing, listing the main characters, and describing the setting.  I love the creativity that the students used to decorate their houses. I hope they had as much fun working on these as I had looking at them. 
     
    We are all finished with our final drafts of the stories and I am so proud of all the hard work the student put into their written pieces.  Yesterday we took a look at our original story and at our final draft and we reflected on all that changed from that first “seed” story to our final product.  We will be making covers for our stories and will share them with one another next week. 
     
    Math 
    We’ve been revisiting an old friend in math recently: regrouping.  You might know it as “carrying the one” in addition or “borrowing” in subtraction.  Really what it is is thinking about a numeral representing a certain number of hundreds, tens, and ones and needing to change out a ten for some more ones or group some tens together to make a new hundred.  We’ve been working with the tens blocks so we could physically act out the written work in a regrouping problem. We’ve also been learning about rounding and estimations, which the students seem to love. Right now we are learning how to estimate a sum or difference on paper, but the ultimate goal is for students to learn how to estimate in their head so they can check to see if their actual answer makes sense. 
      
    I think Fridays are our favorite day in Math thanks to Chef Muffle and his truffles.  The students did a wonderful job creating new box designs, so his customers have some size options when they visit his shop.  They also made posters displaying how the cost of one big box cost the same as a few smaller boxes. Example: a 5x6 box costs the same as a 3x3, a 2x3, and a 3x5 together.  Some students designed a 22x17 box and as a class we figured out different ways to find the cost of all those truffles. Next week, the students will get to redesign the boxes yet again, though this time the boxes must only hold numbers that are made of groups of fives and see how many ways they can construct these boxes. 
      
      
    Social Studies 
    We are just about finished with our Ohlone unit.  Next Monday we will be starting our engineering challenge to build an Ohlone hut using natural materials found around our community (and lots of hot glue).  After our first stage the students will participate in a “Fish Bowl” activity where they will share about their work in progress and get input from other students before finishing it the following week.  When they are all completed, we will test how well they keep a tissue paper Ohlone person dry. It’s going to be a lot of fun!  
    Comments (-1)
  • Early October

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 10/11/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter 

    Third Grade 

     
     

      

    Reminders 

    • We are going to be starting a fun building project next month and we would greatly appreciate some squares of cardboard, shoebox lids, or disposable aluminum pans to use as bases (not larger than 11x11).  
    • Book reports are due on Monday the 22nd.  Please make sure your child fills out and turns in the rubric along with the project. 
    • Wednesday the 31st is Halloween and students are invited to wear costumes.  No prop weapons or violent costumes will be allowed at school. Masks can be worn during the Halloween parade, but not during the rest of the school day.  Students will be dismissed at 12:30. 
    • The traditional 3rd grade Star Party will be Thursday, March 7th.  Students will spend the night and leave by 8:00am the following day, so please plan childcare for the 8th.  

     
     

    Language Arts 

    The students are having a lot of fun reading lots of scary and mystery stories for their book report project.  I have to say Goosebumps were never my favorite as a kid, but I love the eagerness of the students to jump into their book and talk with one another about the spooky thing that just happened. Mysteries were and still are my favorite; Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children were constant companions of mine and I love seeing new fans developing in my classroom.   

    About half of us are done with our final draft of our small moment story!  Everyone is working extra hard to finish and I’ve loved sitting down with each student going through and showing them where to make new paragraphs, how to add quotations, and having them add clarifying details.  Those that are finished are back to writing new stories in their notebook until we start the process all over again. 

    Math 

    We’ve started our second module, focusing on time and measurement.  The students are doing a great job telling time, which is very helpful for me.  When some students ask me How long until____ I can just point to the clock and they think it through.  We’ve also started learning about the metric measuring systems and how it is much simpler to work with in mathematics than the English system.  Grams vs. kilograms and milliliters vs. liters have been our focus this week. We’ve gotten to brush off our addition and subtraction skills using metrics to solve for the unknown in number stories. 

      

    We are still continuing our exploratory math activities on Fridays and we started a new problem, a fun “real-life” application of multiplication with a project called Muffles Truffles.  It starts with a story of a man named Mr. Muffle who makes truffles with a variety of kinds and places them in various sized boxes.  Simply put, this is a long series of number stories about Muffle and his truffles and the students will be invited to solve the questions in any way they choose and to make a poster explaining their thinking each time.  While one student might choose to cut out paper truffles and solve the problem manually, another student might choose the pencil and paper route. It’s a fun and meaningful way for us to apply our new knowledge while interacting and learning from others.  

      

      

    Social Studies 

    We’ve had so much fun learning all about the Ohlone people!  Using Google Classroom as a tool, the students have been watching videos, reading articles, and typing up reflections of their learning.  Tule and soaproot were two of the most important plants to the Ohlone, providing shelter, hygiene, and more. We learned the long and detailed process of how the Ohlone prepared acorns so that they could utilize this plenteous, though poisonous, food source.  October is the season for collecting acorns, so if you happen to have a few oak trees on your property, send out your child for some acorns for us to take a closer look at in the class. 

      

    Today we made and learned a version of the Stick Game, a game that various tribes of Native Americans played.  Two players, 12 counters, and 6 sticks with markings on one side are needed to play. Player one drops the sticks and gets a certain number of counters depending on how many sticks wound up face up and face down.  Player two then drops the sticks and collects the proper number of counters. Eventually the players will be taking counters from one another and the winner is whoever gets all 12 counters. 

      

    In order to determine which combination of sticks should be worth the most/least points, the students and I did a little exploration of probability today.  We found that all face up/down happened the least frequently, so we made that worth the most points. The four/two combination happened the most often, so we determined that was the worth only 1 point.  Tomorrow the students will take home the paper with the points/rules along with their set of sticks, so be sure to ask them to teach you how to play. 

     
     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Late September

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 9/27/2018 9:00:00 AM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter 

    Third Grade 

      

    Reminders 

    • A big THANK YOU to those of you who donated funds for our class basket!  THANK YOU to Dru for putting it together and THANK YOU to Heather for helping us create our art piece for the auction!  I hope you see you at the Gala on the 6th! 
    • Tomorrow is Crazy Hair Day! 
    • Next Friday our class will be having a Pajama Day!  Students are invited to wear PJs and bring a stuffie (must fit inside their backpack). 
    • We are going to be starting a fun building project (see Social Studies below) next month and we would greatly appreciate some squares of cardboard, shoebox lids, or disposable aluminum pans to use as bases (not larger than 11x11).   

     
     

    Language Arts 

    Reading continues to be one of our favorite subjects here in room 11.  During our daily re-aloud, we just finished the second book of Pippi Longstocking and rather than move onto the third book, I decided we needed a little break from her charming and strange antics.  Reading is such a great opportunity for students to learn empathy and social-emotional skills, so I wanted to be sure that we spend some of our group reading time on a meaningful text.  I chose The Hundred Dresses, one I clearly remember reading in third grade.  It’s a simple, realistic story of how two ordinarily kind girls found enjoyment in gently teasing an odd classmate, but they find that their actions had a greater impact than they realized.  If you haven’t read it, I suggest it. It only took about an hour to read it aloud in total, but the perspectives it shares with the reader are very profound and memorable.  

     

    After writing a collection of stories in our writer’s notebooks, we chose our favorite one to focus on for a while.  We call it a “seed story” because from it an edited, final, carefully drafted narrative will grow. On a separate sheet of paper, we rewrote our story this week.  As students finish their 2nd draft, a classmate will read through the story focusing on what bits they’d liked to see stretched out more by adding more details. We will then type up our stories and I’ll look them over checking for spelling and grammar.  I’m looking forward to next month when we will have some beautifully written stories on our wall. 

     

    Math 

    We’ve completed our first Math Module of the year!  Only six more to go! We wrapped up our first multiplication module where we focused on multiplying by 5 or less, but we will be returning to multiplication in Module 3 when we learn more about multiplying with 6-10.  Module 2 we will start on Monday and it focuses on time, measurement, and estimation.  

      

    While we are taking a break from multiplication, I want to encourage you to support your child in memorizing some math facts at home.  However, it’s not as simple as just handing them a set of flashcards. Some students need a scaffolded method to memorize their facts. If you already have flashcards, pull out just the x2s; once those are mastered, add in the x10s.  Many people think that going in numerical order makes sense when learning math facts, but it’s better to go by degrees of ease. Here’s the order I suggest if your child is starting to work on multiplication facts at home: 0s, 1s, 2s, 10s, 5s, 9s, 4s, 8s, 3s, 6s, and 7s.  Putting the 4s/8s and 3s/6s back to back makes the most sense since they share multiples, while 7s are always the most challenging for students to master and should be saved until the end. 

        

     

    Social Studies 

    We’re taking a short break from our regularly scheduled newspaper curriculum and are taking a deeper look at the Ohlone, the Native American people group from this region.  So far it has been a lot of fun! Using Google Classroom, the students have had a great time watching video clips, reading articles, and digitally sharing their new knowledge with me.  We will also be learning more about the Ohlone in Math and Writing, and I’m planning a fun engineering challenge for the students as well. They will build a miniature structure out of natural materials found at home or school that will need to protect a fragile piece of tissue paper from rain.  Students will be building these structures at school and they will have the choice to work on their own or with a partner. This class is so creative and they are already so interested in the Ohlone that I think they are going to have a lot of fun with this project. If any parents are handy with a hot glue gun and would like to come pop in, we will be building between 12:30 and 2:45 on Monday the 29th.  Any and all are welcome for the whole time or just part of the time. Please email me so I know to expect you. 

      

     
     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Early September

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 9/13/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

     

    Reminders

    • Our library day is on Wednesdays, so please be sure to help your child to remember to bring in their books.
    • Crazy Hair Day is Friday, September 28th.

    Language Arts

    Reading has continued to be a very enjoyable subject for both the students and me.  We’ve taken a closer look at what it means to read a book that is “just right”, what it looks like, what it sounds like, and the depth at which the reader understands it.  I’ve been reading with each student to see if they have gone up or down a reading level over the summer, noting each student’s strengths and weaknesses when reading. This is an enthusiastic group of readers and they are all eager to jump into their books.  Please remember to make sure your child is reading half an hour daily as it is homework. If you’re having trouble motivating your students to do it, please email me and we can come up with a plan.

    Our writer’s workshop has been a whole lot of fun!  Almost every day after a short whole group lesson, the students are given a nice long period of time to write.  Students can choose to start a new story or to work on the same story over a few days. We’ve talked about what kind of writer we each want to be, learned strategies to brainstorm a story if we don’t already have a story in mind, and we’ve started trying to tell “small moment” stories (riding the Giant Dipper) versus a big story (a day at the Boardwalk) and telling it bit by bit, stretching out the details to make the reader think s/he is really there.  It is amazing to see the growth that has happened over these past two weeks and I can’t wait to see what else they come up with. Soon we will pick a favorite story and will learn the process of editing and rewriting.

    Math

    Our exploration of multiplication continues!  We’ve practiced using arrays and diagrams showing groups as methods to solve multiplication equations and we’ve dabbled a bit with division as well.  The relationship between multiplication and division is a tricky one for students to understand, but I’m pleased with the number of students that seem to grasp it so far.  We had our first math quiz today and I’m very impressed with how well the students did. I’m experimenting this year with having the students take brief notes in a notebook during the math lesson.  The student understand that they don’t have to take notes, but most choose to because they get to have their notebook with them during the math quizzes. Only about five students needed to reference their notebook when they got stuck.  After the first trimester I’m going to reevaluate and see if we can take quizzes without use of the notes.

     

    On Fridays I like to take a break from the pencil and paper and give the students a challenge that gets their synapses firing.  A couple weeks ago I gave the students the question of You have 36 crackers.  How many students can share the crackers and how many will each student get?.  I love giving an open-ended question like this because there is no single right answer.  Some students used counters, some chose to draw, and some already knew the factors that could be multiplied to get to 36.  For those that were ready, I gave them new scenarios like using 32 or 24 crackers. As we looked at our data it really solidified the students’ understanding of the commutative property (axb=bxa).  Tomorrow we will be exploring with dice.

     

     

    Social Studies

    We have completed a few weeks of our curriculum, Community Studies Weekly, and the students seem to be enjoying it (especially the back page).  Each day we read an article or two and discuss it. Soon we will be transitioning away for a bit in order to take a closer look at the local Native Americans, the Ohlone.  Now that we’ve set up our Google Classroom, I can start planning our unit for this year.

     

    Computers

    Like I just said, we have set up our Google Classroom and they are excited to be using laptops this year.  Our typing skills will grow a lot which will not only help us with life, but will also help us prepare for the unfun CAASPP test in the spring.  Part of third grade is also learning digital citizenship, meaning how to be safe and respectful online. Our first step in being safe is having a password that is ours and not using the same password for everyone.  I had the students pick a color, animal, and number to create their own passwords for their Google account. The AR passwords remains the same, so don’t worry about that. Tomorrow the students should come home with a login card that they can keep in their binder just in case they’d like to log in to Khan or Google or Studies Weekly at home.

    Comments (-1)
  • Late August

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 8/30/2018 8:00:00 AM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

     

    Reminders

    • Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to Back to School Night yesterday!  As promised I’ve emailed a PDF of the presentation. If you were unable to make it, please email me with any questions you may have.
    • If you haven’t yet, please fill out my brief Google form.  It helps me get to know your child and lets me know in what areas you are interested in volunteering in.  Please fill it out by Friday afternoon.
    • Tomorrow is Color Spirit Day and all 3rd grade students should wear the color green!
    • Please visit my website to see our class schedule, helpful websites, and more!
    • There is no school on Monday, September 3rd due to Labor Day.
    • I will be emailing out a newsletter and posting it on the website every other Thursday.  If you ever have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me at s.flynn@loma.k12.ca.us.

    Language Arts

    We are off to a great start to the 2018-2019 school year!  We have launched our Reading Workshop based on the curriculum by Lucy Calkins and the students are doing a stellar job!  We’ve learned how we can take responsibility for our reading life by finding an enjoyable reading spot, choosing books that interest us at our level, talking with others about texts, and treating books like they are gold.  This set of students especially loves to read; I rarely need to redirect a student to stay on task. I have begun reading one-on-one with the students to see how their reading skills have developed over the summer and I will continue to do so over the next couple of weeks.

    This is a class full of talented authors!  We dusted off our writing skills last week writing a short biography about ourselves and this week we’ve started our writing workshop.  We’ve revisited what we’ve learned since kindergarten about using spaces between words, using careful handwriting when someone else will be reading it, and only using capitals when necessary.  We’ve started drafting many “small moment” stories in our journals and I love hearing about all these memorable times in the students’ lives. An example of “small moment” would be riding the Giant Dipper at the Boardwalk, rather than telling about the entire day at the Boardwalk.  

     

    Math

    We’ve started one of the biggest third grade mathematical concepts of the year: multiplication!  This week has been all about connecting the symbolism and formatting with the physical/visual concepts.  In other words 4x3 means you have 4 groups with 3 items in each group. We’ve learned the term array which is just a mathematical way to say the items are in rows.  Many students have been loving it! We took the idea of an array and we decided to make it into a fun little art project to help jazz up our classroom a bit.  The students each created a building with an array of windows and wrote the multiplication expression at the bottom. Our little skyline looks wonderful!

     

    SEL

    SEL stands for Social-Emotional Learning and it is a subject I address often in my classroom.  3rd grade is a big year of academic and social transitions and I will be doing to the best I can to ensure that my students continue to develop both a healthy sense of empathy and communication skills.  We’ve learned a couple of sentence frames that the students will use throughout the year when working in groups or if a problem arises. I like_____ and I wonder____ are great phrases for the students to use when working in cooperative groups.  Members will not always agree or have the same idea, but it is important for students to learn how to respectfully disagree and compromise.  We practiced this with an engineering challenge using binder clips and tongue depressors. As a group they were challenged to build a bridge that could span a foot long distance between two desks using only the two provided items.  They did a great job sharing ideas and working together! If a student has a negative interaction with a peer, I’ve asked them to use I feel _____ when you ____.  It makes it very clear what the unwanted behavior is and it helps the other student to understand the effect their actions can have on others.  Working with a partner, the students made little comic strips demonstrating what to do if someone is bothering us. Soon we will learn the importance of apologizing.  

     

    Homework

    Reading and talking with you are the most beneficial thing a student can be doing at home, so please do both in excess!  Mrs. Van Zante and I would like the students to read for at least 30 minutes every day. You won’t be required to write down the times or titles of the books, rather we are trusting students to do their daily reading without written evidence.  If a student needs extra time to finish an assignment outside of class, I will email you and send the assignment home.

     

    Every Friday the students will take home their binder with all the work we’ve done during the week.  The weekend is time for you to look over your student’s work and remove any completed work that your student does not want to keep.  Please return the binder every Monday.

     

    Spelling

    I didn’t get a chance to talk about spelling last night, but here’s a brief rundown of how we will be working on spelling this year.  The spelling program Mrs. Van Zante and I use has 16-20 words per week that will be on the spelling test. Each week I write these words on post-its and hide them around the room.  The kids find them and stick them on the door where they can reference them at any time. I also have a sheet the kids can fill in with the words for the week if they or you would like to practice them at home.  My favorite thing about this spelling program is that is repeats words throughout the year, giving the student the chance to learn the difference between tough words like their, there, and they’re more often.  The spelling test is a fun format as well since it is a short passage with the spelling words missing and the kids fill in the words as I slowly read the paragraph aloud.  There is also a bonus phonics portion on the bottom that I don’t formally grade, but it gives me valuable data to know which spelling patterns need reteaching. You should find last week’s spelling test in your child’s binder tomorrow.

    Comments (-1)