• Early May

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 5/10/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • We will be going on a field trip to the Santa Cruz History Museum on Friday, May 18th.  Please remind your child to turn in their field trip form if they have not already done so.
    • Open House is from 6:30-8:00 on Thursday, May 24th.

     

    Language Arts

    We have been busy these last couple of weeks!  We finished our Language Arts CAASPP assessments and the students showed a lot of grit and perseverance.  It was by no means easy, but I am very impressed with the number of students that took their time and really gave it their best shot.  On the other side, there were students who struggled and were overwhelmed by the whole process, which is to be expected.  Since this is their first year taking such a rigorous test, it is fair to say that this round will be the most challenging during their academic career.  They will have a much easier time when they take it again in 4th grade and beyond.

     

    After we finished our Language Arts assessments, we jumped right back into our fractured fairy tale writing assignments.  The students have lost no steam and are just as eager to put their ideas on paper as they were before.  Some students stories match the traditional tales very closely and some are hardly recognizable as being a fairy tale adaptation.  I love this project because it gives the students a spectrum of choices to create an entirely original idea or to keep the plot familiar and just focus on their writing skills.

     

    Math

    We’ve completed the first Math CAASPP assessment and we only have one more to go next week.  Like I said before, the students are handling this difficult test very well.  I’ve enjoyed reading through their scrap papers after administering the test and I’m proud to see the depth of mathematical understanding in our class.  I’m seeing a lot of hardworking students determined to do their best, and not just enter an answer and move on. 

     

    In Math today we took a quiz on all of our work with geometry, area, and perimeter and the students did very well.  This unit has been a lot of fun because the concepts are so practical and accessible for the students.  Next week we will be finishing our module by constructing tiny houses.  It should be a lot of fun and I hope to have them finished by Open House for you!

     

    Social Emotional Learning

    With the end of the school year approaching and spring fever among us, the classroom community has felt a little strained.  We’ve been together for 9 months now and we are very comfortable together, almost too comfortable.  Our tones of voice, our boundaries, and our methods of expressing our feelings could all use a little tune up, so for the past week and for the next few weeks, we are having an SEL lesson every day.  The lessons are more of a discussion on a given topic like honesty or how people have different personalities.  The students ask some good questions and we’ve had some profound conversations.  The SEL lessons always end with some sort of a game because the best way to build a positive community is to have fun together.  There’s been a positive shift this past week and I’m hoping to send my students off to fourth grade with the tools and methods they need to be good role models for the younger students in school.

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  • Late April

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 4/26/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • Our field trip is tomorrow.  Please pack a lunch and have students wear comfortable shoes.
    • These pinball machines are fantastic!  I’m so impressed with all the work that was put into them!  They can go home tomorrow, unless the student wants to leave it to be displayed at Family Science Day (going home on Monday).
    • The Jog-A-Thon is Friday, May 4th.  Your child can only participate if they’ve turned in the completed permission slip.
    • Wednesday, May 9th is the Volunteer Tea.  If you’ve volunteered your time or resources to Loma this year, the staff and students are eager to show you our gratitude.  It will be from 12:30-1:30 in the forum.
    • We will be going on a field trip to the Santa Cruz History Museum on Friday, May 18th.

     

    Language Arts

    Last week, we finished up our book clubs and I must say I am impressed with how well the students worked together.  I overheard many profound discussions about a character’s motivation or a choice that the author made and it excites me to see literature transform from an enjoyable story to a starting point for higher level thinking.  We will be starting another book club in the next couple of weeks.

     

    This has been the most fun we’ve ever had in writing.  As our last project/unit, the students are writing their own adaptations of traditional fairy tales.  We started with looking closely at adaptations I have in the classroom, analyzing the author’s choices, and charting ways a traditional story can change.  We spent a few days brainstorming different ways we could adapt a story and we wrote the main plot elements, the bones of the story. This week some of us have started writing our first draft and you know it’s a good assignment when you’re asked Can I take my writing notebook to recess and Do we get to write today?.  It doesn’t get better than this.  My hope is that our final stories will be ready by Open House (Thursday, May 24th).  

     

    We’ve completed our first leg of the CAASPP this week and I’m impressed with the maturity these third graders have shown.  Rather than the smalller tests we had as children, there are only 4 large tests. This week we took the multiple choice/short answer Language Arts test over 2-4 days.  Students are asked to do their best and to take their time, so they are given as much time as they need. The remaining tests are an essay style Language Arts assessment, a multiple choice/short answer Math, and a huge multiple step Math problem.  We will focus on one each week.



    Math

    Our Math module has been focusing on Geometry for the past few lessons.  We learned the mathematical definitions for quadrilaterals, trapezoid, parallelogram, rectangle, rhombus, square, polygon, and regular polygon.  We’ve explored with different shapes and math tools like tangrams and tetrominoes, deepening our understanding that shapes can come together to make other shapes.  It’s been a great unit this week, a few extra fun lessons to give us a mental break from the CAASPP

     

    Social Studies

    We had a blast at History San Jose!  The students did a wonderful job being respectful, listening attentively, and being all around awesome!  We started our visit with a snack and a fun photo scavenger hunt at the different locations around the park.  We were then given a character to channel during our tour of the various businesses at the museum. The print shop was filled with different printing presses; many of them are still operational!  Each student turned in a “check” at the bank and went through the process of “cashing” it. And in the Doctor/Dentist office we learned to be very grateful for the medical advances we’ve made in the last 100 years, like the importance of washing hands and anesthesia.  The hands on aspect was terrific and the students had a blast acting as the different employees. All in all it was a great day and I’m excited for another field trip next month! A great big THANK YOU to Deborah, Elizabeth, Lila, Nanette, and Stephen for chaperoning!










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  • Early April

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 4/5/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • The Music concert is tonight at 7:00 in the gym.  Performers should be there by 6:50 and should be prepared to play their piece Smoke on the Water.  Because it is all Loma families and a lot of CT families attending tonight it will be quite crowded.  Also due to the new construction fences there are less entrances into the gym. I suggest arriving at 6:30 to make sure your child arrives on time and that you find parking.
    • Spring Break is April 9th-13th.  We will return to school on Monday the 16th.
    • I will be placing a Scholastic order on Monday, April 16th.
    • Pinball projects are due on Wednesday, April 25th.

     

    Language Arts

    Book clubs have been a huge success so far in room 11.  The students know the meeting procedure well and I’ve overheard some great literary discussions on characters’ motivation, the author’s intent, or the development of the plot.  Each day I give the students an idea to focus on, like defining the purpose of a secondary character. I model for the class how to approach the concept using our current read aloud The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  They then break out into groups with their text and Book Club packet in hand, ready to discuss and analyze with their peers.  It’s been such a kick to see many of them thriving with this small amount of independence and responsibility. It’s really what third grade is all about.  They are no longer learning how to read, but how to think about what they read, how to develop their own thoughts and share them with others. I think the biggest challenge so far has been for the groups to decide together how much to read before the next book club and to write it down.  Some still rely on me to remember how far they need to read each day and it’s been a learning process for us all. When we come back from break, everyone will have finished their book and we will work on summarizing.

     

    We’re still working hard on our cursive handwriting, taking a slower pace learning each letter and how one letter can connect to another.  Tow-truck letters like b, w, v, and o make any letter that follow them look very different, so I encourage the students to write slowly and carefully.  We only have letters x, q and z to master along with all of the capital letters. I encourage the students to write in cursive wherever they want, except on spelling tests (it pains me to deduct points on spelling tests due to unclear handwriting).



    Math

    We’ve started a new module this week that focuses on geometry and measurement.  However the first three lessons give the students a bit of a review and a challenge, having the students work through two or three step problems.  We’ve reviewed a lot of what we learned in the fall like the different properties of multiplication and how to analyze number stories. Every day as a class we went through a problem set talking about different the strategies and drawing the various diagrams that students could use.  When we come back from the break, we will get into the meat of the module, geometry.

     

    The 30 second multiplication sprints have been going well so far.  Everyone is past x1, and a third of the class has already mastered x2.  This week we’ve talked about the importance of practicing often, making homemade flashcards, and focusing on our current level.  Making our own flashcards gives us the change to add a quick diagram or another number sentence to help our brain remember the product.  For example 2 x 9 could also have 9 +9 written on it. Or 6 x 4 could also have (5 x 4) + 4. It helps a child make connections within the numbers when they can visualize the fact in a different way.

     

    Social Studies

    We’ve all presented on our bills!  The students did a great job organizing their thoughts, presenting in a professional manner, and listened respectfully as an audience member.  We voted to pass on the bills and only one got the >50% approval (11/20 votes), Tag should be allowed on the track and field.  We talked about how difficult it is for a real bill to pass in congress, so it’s not too surprising that most bills did not pass.

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  • Late March

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 3/22/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • If you haven’t yet read over the pinball project, please do so, initial the front page, and have your child show it to me before taking the instructions back home.  
    • The Music concert is Thursday, April 5th at 7:00 in the gym.  Performers should be there by 6:50 and should be practicing their recorder piece, Smoke on the Water.  
    • Spring Break is April 9th-13th.  We will return to school on Monday the 16th.

     

    Language Arts

    Book clubs!  The students have been asking about book clubs since the beginning of the year and now the time has come!  The students were placed in groups of 3-4 based on their reading levels. Each group were given the choice of four books at their level and this week they met in their groups for the first time.  We talked about how we are responsible for keeping up with the reading, making sure we are prepared for the group’s next discussion time. The students are deciding how much of the book should be read and we are pacing ourselves to be finished with the books by spring break.  We have book clubs on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. The reading assignments will be longer between Wednesday and Monday since the students have 5 days to complete it. Please remind you child to complete their reading, but not to read beyond the assignment. Groups will be making predictions and it wouldn’t be the same if a group member read ahead.

     

    We’ve been learning about persuasive/opinion writing, how strong reasoning and evidence give credence to our writing.  We are directly connecting Social Studies with Writing this month, so rather than just having all the students write a paper about their bill, some are taking the same writing principles and creating a slide presentation.



    Math

    Fractions. Fractions. Fractions.  They continue to stump, stretch, and amaze us.  We’ve been really working hard on representing fractions on a number line and the students seem to have a firm grasp on it, as long as the number line is only from 0 to 1.  When we started working with improper fractions (fractions when the numerator is greater than the denominator), it threw a few of the students for a loop. Fractions are such a difficult idea for some minds to comprehend, especially when the fraction is greater than one.  It really is best for students to see fractions in the world around them. The next time you’re following a recipe, show it to your child. Ask them what the recipe means by 1 ¾ cups of flour. What would that mixed fraction look like as a improper fraction? Sewing and carpentry can also be used to exemplify fractions.

     

    We’ve started multiplication sprints in room 11.  Now that we have the deep understanding of what it means to multiply, it’s time to encourage the students to memorize as best as they can.  Games, apps, flashcards, wrap-ups are all fantastic methods for students to work on their memorization.  The more fun, the more effective it will be. The last thing I want to do with these timed sprints is cause any anxiety for the students, so each child has a different goal.  I gave the students 30 seconds to write as many number as they could. Whatever the amount they did, that is the student’s goal. One student is aiming for 10 problems in 30 seconds while another is trying for 20 problems in 30 seconds.  It differentiates for students who write or process more slowly than others, giving them an attainable goal. When students meet their goal, they will go up to the next level. Here is the order we are following: x1, x2, x10, x5, x3, x4, x6, x7x, x8, x9, x11, x12, and mixed.

     

    Social Studies

    We’ve chosen our bills and started our projects!  Most students have opted for creating a slide presentation, with a few making a poster or writing a paper.  The students are very excited about it all and I hope they have as much fun creating these projects as they did building the Ohlone houses in the fall.  








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  • Early March

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 3/8/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders  (there’s a lot!)

    ·         Tonight is our Star Party!  Due to cloud cover, the Astronomical Society will not be coming, but we will still have a lot of fun!  Starting at 6:30, Mrs. VanZante and I will be outside supervising free play on the playground.  Students will put their sleeping gear and belongings along the hallway in the North pod, against the computer lab wall. Here are links to the Star Party Packet and the Breakfast Sign-ups.

    ·         Please come to pick up your child starting at 7:30 am tomorrow.  Our goal is for all third graders to be picked up by 8:00.

    ·         Report cards went home today.  If I have not scheduled a conference with you and you would like one, please email me by tomorrow (Friday) evening. 

    ·         Monday, March 12th at 2:15 we will be having a publishing party for our informative writing books in room 11.  If you’re available, please come!

    ·         Monday, March 19th is a teacher in-service day.  Students will not come to school.

    ·         Next week the students will bring home the guidelines for a fun project to be done at home over the next month or so.  It’s a fun Loma tradition: the Pinball Machine!  The final due date is April 25th and the hope is we can display our creations at the Family Science Day on April 28th.  The bottom of the newsletter has a couple of photos to give you an idea of what they will be doing.

    ·         The Jog-A-Thon will be on Friday, May 4th.  Attached to this email are forms for if you would like to be a sponsor or make a pledge.

     

     

    Language Arts

    We’ve started our third reading unit of the year, focusing on developing deeper comprehension of the characters in a fiction text.  We’ve taken a closer look at some very familiar characters, characters we’ve gotten to know very well so far in third grade: Pippi from Pippi Longstocking, Edmund from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Julian from Wonder.  Each character differs greatly from the others and sparks profound conversations.  We’ve compared how the characters were introduced at the beginning of the books with who we knew them to be at the end.  Some characters went through more change than others.  My favorite discussion rotated around the students making inferences on why the characters were this way.  Pippi was ignorant because she was raised by a ship-load of pirates.  Edmund was nasty at the beginning because he feared the war and he was separated from his parents.  Julian acted arrogant because he was spoiled and he never learned to treat everyone with kindness.  I felt like I was teaching a bunch of future psychologists.  They analyzed these characters using little clues from the text as support for their ideas.  

     

    This was a big week in writing!  Everyone finished their informative writing piece!  It was definitely our biggest writing project of the year and I am so proud of all the work and creativity the students put into it.  We have 20 lovely books on a range of subjects.  From Minecraft to penguins to the Roman Empire, our self-made library has something for everyone.  I’m going to keep the books in the classroom for the next week, so we can admire one another’s work.  Next week the students will get to take them home.

     

    Math

    On Wednesday, the students took the mid-module assessment on fractions and I am very pleased with how well they did!  They did a great job comparing fractions with either a different numerator or denominator, they clearly label diagrams and fraction strips, and show the beginning skills necessary to master arithmetic with fractions.  Improper fractions were a challenge for most of the students, which can be expected.  Defining and understanding what the whole is in a problem is a very difficult concept for students to grasp.  It’s what tripped up most of us when we learned fractions.  We’ll keep working on it and exploring this idea of defining the “whole”.

     

    Social Studies

    Who knew working for the government could be so much fun!?  We’ve had a blast in Social Studies these past couple of weeks.  We learned a bit more about the three branches of governments, what the requirements are and how long politicians can serve.  Last week each student was assigned a grade level to represent and on Friday they were sent to collect data on their constituents’ opinions of school issues like uniforms, sharing food, and playing tag.  This week we analyzed the collected data and started brainstorming what possible bills we could write.  We are looking forward to starting our project next week and presenting our bills at the end of the month to our class “congress”.  

     

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  • Late February

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 2/15/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • A big thank you to those of you who donated items and/or time to help make our Valentine’s Day party a big success!  And a special thanks to Jenn for organizing it!  I certainly felt a lot of love and I greatly appreciate all the thoughtful cards and gifts!
    • Tomorrow’s spirit day is Zombie Day!  
    • No school February 19th - 23rd.
    • Your child brought home a packet with detailed information about third grade’s annual Star Party on Thursday, March 8th.  Please fill out the green permission form for your child at return it by Friday, March 2nd.  If you would like to chaperone overnight, please fill out the blue form.  The purple pages are for your reference and can remain at home.   If you would love to help out with food please sign up here.  Third grade students will not attend school on Friday, March 9th.   

     

    Language Arts

    With report cards coming around the corner, I’ve been checking in with each student and assessing them on their Fountas and Pinnell reading level.  I’m thrilled with how each student has grown more fluent and expressive when reading aloud, can recall a great amount of detail from the text, and are making empathetic connections with the characters.  This last piece is something we are going to be focusing on in our last trimester of third grade, using narrative fiction to get inside a character’s mind, to understand their actions and motivations.  We’ve had a great deal of fun reading and discovering everything nonfiction has to offer, but I’m excited to return to fiction texts.  

     

    In spelling, we have been doing a lot of work around homophones.  I always forget how many words sound the same in English, but have different spellings and meanings.  To/two/too and their/there/they’re are the classic ones, ones that some adults still struggle to keep straight.  Bye/by/buy, due/do/dew, for/fore/four, and it seems an infinite amount of other homophones are here just to make our spelling lives difficult.  When it comes down to it, reading and reading often is what will help your child keep these homophones straight.  When they come across it in a sentence and picture it in their head, they are making connections for them to recall later when writing.

     

    Most of us are now in the final stages of our writing project and it’s been quite the journey.  We’ve added a table of contents, a glossary, and a conclusion to our drafts to make our books as informative as they can be.  Many students have chosen to type up their final drafts, which are accessible on their Google Drive.  I’m hesitant to send home their rough drafts for them to type up over the break, but your child is more than welcome to play with fonts, formatting and adding pictures to their work if they’d like.

     

    Math

    We’ve jumped into fractions head first and the students have embraced this very abstract concept.  Most of our work has rotated around dividing into equal parts, using math vocabulary, and identifying a portion of a whole.  To help the students learn the terms numerator and denominator and to understand what they both mean, I taught them this little song I made up during my student teaching days.  It’s set to the tune of the Oompa Loompa song from the original Willy Wonka.

     

    Denominators are much fun

    They tell you how many parts in one

    Numerators go up on top

    They tell you how many parts you’ve got

     

    Social Studies

    When we come back from the break, we will be starting a new PBL rotating around the legislative branch and learning persuasive writing.  Each student will be a “representative” for a different grade here at Loma, collecting “votes” to see what general opinions the grade has about various school issues (playing tag, school uniforms, sharing food, etc.).  Each student will then write a bill about one of these issues, providing support and evidence for their stance.  The students’ bill can be presented in a written paper, a self-created movie, a slide presentation, or a well-rehearsed speech.  They will present their bill to congress (the class) and in the end we will anonymously vote on each of them.  The passed bills will be presented again to Mrs. Carino, who is taking part as the executive branch.  She will have the power to veto or pass our bills.

     

    I will be briefly explaining this to the students tomorrow before the break, mostly asking them to think about the types of project they would like to work on.  Since this will be done at school students will need to think if they know enough about making movies or slide presentations to do it primarily on their own.  Over the break if you’d like to show them how to use iMovie (the program we have available at school) or Google Slides, this week off would be a great opportunity for them to explore their options.

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  • Early February

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 2/1/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • Tomorrow is our class’s special Pajama Day!  We earned a BINGO for our good behavior and this is what the students voted for.
    • Your child’s Dream Room project is due on Monday, February 5th.  
    • Student will have the option to exchange valentines on Valentine’s Day.  If your child chooses to participate, please make sure they have one for everyone (19 students total).  
    • Please see below if you are willing to help or donate items for our Valentine’s Day party.
    • No school February 19th - 23rd.
    • Third grade’s annual Star Party is Thursday, March 8th.  An astronomer will come lead us through some star gazing and the students will spend the night at school.  If you are interested in joining us as chaperones, you will need a TB test and fingerprinting on file with the school.  Third grade students will not attend school on Friday, March 9th.

     

    Valentine’s Day Message from Jenn Viane Riese

    Who didn't LOVE Valentine's Day as a kid!? Join me in helping make this year super fun for Mrs. Flynn's fabulous 3rd graders! An easy lunch spread so we don't have to pack lunch for the kids (woo hoo), some treats, a game...boom, baby. Please sign up to contribute something and let me know if you can join us day of to help facilitate the fun. Email (jennviane@gmail.com) or call (408.781.7684) me with any questions.  

     

    Language Arts

    We’ve rounding our last bend in our nonfiction focused reading unit and are looking closely at biographies.  Biographies have the fantastic knowledge and information found in expository texts, but delivers in the narrative fashion making it simpler to comprehend and organize our thoughts.  People from history have much to teach us and it’s been so encouraging to see the students dive into biographies of athletes, performers, scientists, artists, and others.  Civil rights activists like Dr. King and Rosa Parks have been very popular with the majority of the students.  

     

    When finally finished, these nonfiction books we are writing are going to be great pieces of work.  We are starting our our third stage of writing which includes adding a table of contents and a glossary.  The students continue to work diligently and many of them have learned more about their topic than what they could possibly show in their writing assignment.  Last week, we went over the purpose of an introduction, how it should hook the reader’s interest and give a sneak peak as to the rest of the books contents.  This was a tricky idea for a few of the students to wrap their heads around; they wanted to list facts they already wrote in their existing chapters.  Introductions are a fluid blend of facts with a “sneaky” opinion thrown in.  For example, a sentence like “Humpback whales are magnificent ocean creatures.” has both the fact (ocean creature) and the author’s opinion (magnificent).  In the end, most of them got it, but it will be something we revisit in the future.



    Math

    We had our mid-module assessment last week and I am thrilled with how well the students did!  They are really enjoying learning and exploring this great physical representation of multiplication.  This week we have been working on finding the area of a geometric shape made up of multiple rectangles.  Often times these shapes have missing measurements, so we have the extra challenge of using what we know of rectangles and the existing measurements to find the unknown lengths.  We think of it like a puzzle with multiple steps.  Next week on Tuesday we will take our end of module assessment.

     

    Our next module rotates around a huge concept, one that may cause some adults to break out in an anxious sweat.  Fractions.  That’s right, your child is now old enough to be introduced to fractions.  The idea behind this is similar to using letters to represent the unknown in an equation.  With waiting until 4th grade to introduce fractions and then teaching how to add, subtract, reduce, etc., it was found that students were still uncomfortable with what fractions really represent making it difficult to work with them as numbers.  All we are doing in third grade is learning what fractions are and how some fractions can be equal to one another.  We will be spending a little over a month just looking at how we can divide a whole into different pieces and represent it numerically.  








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  • January

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 1/18/2018 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • Happy New Year!
    • Scholastic catalogues went home earlier this week.  Please place your orders online and I will submit the entire class order on Friday, January 26th.  Class code: R7J3B
    • Your child’s Dream Room project is due on Monday, February 5th.  
    • Student will have the option to exchange valentines on Valentine’s Day.  If your child chooses to participate, please make sure they have one for everyone (19 students total).  If any parent is interested in planning a party on that day, please let me know.
    • No school February 19th - 23rd.
    • Third grade’s annual Star Party is Thursday, March 8th.  An astronomer will come lead us through some star gazing and the students will spend the night at school.  If you are interested in joining us as chaperones, you will need a TB test and fingerprinting on file with the school (I’ve attached the form to the original newsletter email).  Third grade students will not attend school on Friday, March 9th.

     

    Language Arts

    We’ve jumped right back into the swing of things, including focusing on nonfiction texts during Reading.  The past couple of weeks we’ve learned about habits that good readers have when reading nonfiction texts.  I told the students that one of my weaknesses as a reader is that I read too fast and don’t pause often enough to process what I just read.  Every time we come across a new definition, an interesting picture/diagram, a new piece of information, or come to the end of a section we need to stop and think/write/talk about what we’ve just learned.  We’ve also talked about how in nonfiction texts sometimes the author uses specific language to subtly communicate a personal opinion.  For example, the heading in a gorilla book said Look out for those teeth!, which gives the impression that the author finds gorilla teeth very dangerous.  From there we talked about how news articles that print true information can also use the same idea to sneak in an opinion, and how it is our responsibility, as readers, to pay attention to what we read and how it was written.

     

    Students have continued to work on their nonfiction writing pieces.  Most of us are finishing our second draft and are preparing for giving suggestions and receiving the input of others.  Next week we will learn how to write an introduction and conclusion for our piece.

     

    We have also started to learn cursive, which the students are very excited about.  Though cursive is no longer an official standard in CA, I’m teaching it because students need to learn to read it, it strengthens fine motor skills, and it’s fun!  They have been having a blast with it so far.  I’m using pages from a great curriculum called Handwriting Without Tears and it really focuses on making cursive accessible for all students.  Some of the letters are a bit more simplistic than what we learned which makes it more fun and less frustrating.  I won’t be requiring students to submit written work to me in cursive, but after we have learned all of the letters students will be welcome to do so if they wish.

     

    Math

    We’ve started our new year jumping into our 4th math module of the year, which focuses on areas and perimeters.  Real-world applications are all around us in this unit and the students are having a lot of fun with it.  Over the holidays I needed to make a baby quilt for a friend of mine and before handing it over to her I brought in the quilt along with my written math work.  I showed the students how I needed to figure out the design, the measurement of each piece, and how much of each fabric I would need.  I love it when students see how math is applied in real-life.  I’ve sent home a fun design project for the students to complete on their own: design your dream bedroom.  It’s not due until February, but some of the students have started it already!

     

    In the past, students have been allowed to use their personal multiplication chart on their desk during work times and quizzes.  But starting on our next quiz (Tuesday), students won’t be allowed that tool.  Now that we are halfway through year (yikes!) I’d like the students to start committing math facts to memory.  Flashcards are a tried and true way, but we are trying some other methods in class.  Whenever we get an extra few minutes, I’ll show a School House Rock song or two.  Music and visuals are powerful tools when memorizing, so feel free to look up the multiplication videos on YouTube and make them a regular visitor in your home.  Creating artwork is also an excellent choice.  We are finishing up this great project that’s a bit difficult to explain, but the students needed to write a tricky math fact (7 x 8 for example) seven times on this grid/shape and then color it in a pattern.  Each student’s project fits together like a puzzle (tessellation), so we have this class create artwork that displays some of the toughest math facts to memorize.  

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  • Late December

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 12/21/2017 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • Tomorrow students are dismissed at 12:30.  It is also Pajama Day!
    • No school for the next two weeks!  I will see your child again on Monday, January 8th.

     

    Language Arts

    We have a new game we play during reading time.  It doesn’t have a name, but if it did it would be something like Try to stump Mrs. Flynn or New facts for Mrs. Flynn.  Neither are very catchy, which I guess is why the game is unnamed right now.  Anyways, students read through their nonfiction texts, all the while searching for facts that I’ve never learned.  At the end of reading, students can share one fact and if I haven’t heard it before I write it on a little poster in the class.  This week I learned Jackie Robinson’s first major league team was the Brooklyn Dodgers (always thought it was the Yankees), Amelia Earhart’s first flight instructor was a woman, and mountain lions have been referred to as ghost cats.  They have a lot of fun with it and I enjoy learning more random facts to help when I go to a pub trivia night.

     

    We have been diligently working on our informative writing pieces and about half of us are done with our first draft.  The students did a wonderful job picking main ideas for their 5 sections and providing supporting details.  A few students found that they wanted to include an extra section or two due to the amount of knowledge they had to share.  One thing we are working on is using a text only as a reference for the information and writing the facts down in our own words.  It’s a difficult skill for children to understand, but we’re working on it.  When we get back from break, the rest of us will finish our first drafts and we will start the editing process.

     

    Math

    We finished our 3rd module out of the seven in the third grade curriculum and with each module I see the students’ understanding of multiplication deepening.  We’ve taken a break from the curriculum this week, spending our math time learning fun math art and looking for patterns.  One of the projects we did this week is called Spirolaterals and though it is rather complicated, the students jumped right in.  Ask them about it and have them teach it to you (graph paper is needed).  We also had some fun practicing our math facts by playing multiplication bingo.  Using games (in either physical or digital form) is a great method for students to learn their multiplication facts.  I’ve added a link to Math Playground on our Google classroom, a great, free site where students can practice their math knowledge.

     

    We’ve also continued our Week of Inspirational Math, doing day four this past week.  I was given the privilege of introducing the students to Pascal’s triangle asking them to fill in some missing numbers and look for various patterns within the triangle.  If your child ever complains of boredom during the break, challenge them to make Pascal’s triangle with 20 rows.  That should either keep them busy for a while or keep them from complaining to you about having nothing to do.

     

    Holidays

    This past week has been filled with so much fun and joy!  The students worked very hard this week to make a one-of-a-kind gift for you parents.  I had some reservations at first, thinking it was too difficult, but the kids really impressed me with their abilities to follow directions and help each other.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I won’t say anything more.  We also made some beautiful artwork this week inspired by Eric Carle’s collage method as seen in his illustrations.  The students picked either a winter sky, a Christmas tree, or a menorah as their subject, painted with watercolor on paper, cut out shapes, and glued them into a lovely picture.  I wish I could keep these always, but I promise I will send them home at the end of the year with all their other artwork.



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  • Early December

    Posted by Sarah Flynn on 12/7/2017 4:00:00 PM

    Mrs. Flynn’s Newsletter

    Third Grade

     

    Reminders

    • We will be doing our class spelling bee on Thursday the 14th.  If your child would like to practice, the list is here.
    • Friday, December 22nd students are dismissed at 12:30.  It is also Pajama Day!
    • We will be having our class holiday party on Friday the 22nd from 11:00-12:30.  Cynthia Ford is organizing a fun craft for the kids and I am planning a simple snack of popcorn to pair with a movie.  If any parents are interested in organizing a more festive snack portion of the party, please email me.  

     

    Language Arts

    We have started our second unit of Reading focusing on nonfiction texts and the students are greatly enjoying it.  Reading nonfiction for learning looks very different from reading fiction for pleasure, a concept the students have eagerly taken and run with.  During Reading Workshop in class, the students still have the choice to be reading fiction chapter books or nonfiction texts and I was pleasantly surprised that about half of my students are actively reading nonfiction during that time.  With their reading notebook and a pencil handy, I see them skim through the text’s features like the table of contents and headings before diving in to read and take notes on each section.

     

    We’ve also talked about some subgenres of fiction that can give us a great story while teaching us new things.  Magic Tree House, Letters of America, and Time Ranger are all great historical fiction series I encourage the students to read if they are not so sure about attempting a nonfiction book just yet.  I wish I knew of more children’s series that tied fiction with real-world science concepts.  If anyone knows of any, I’d love some recommendations for the class library.

     

    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 half the 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’ve been working on our multiplication skills just as diligently as ever and we are starting to enter a really fun stage in our math journey: looking for rules and patterns within multiplication.  This week we’ve taken a close look at multiples of 9 and each day we’ve talked about a different strategy or pattern we can use to find the product.  For example, if we want to figure out 7 x 9 we can just multiply 7 x 10 and then take away 1 group of 7 to find the product is 63.  On Tuesday, we wrote down all the 9 math facts and saw a pattern: the ones place increases by one and the tens place decreases by one.  Also, if we were to add the digits the total is always nine.  Example, 9 x 8 = 72 and we can check that it’s correct because 7 + 2 = 9.  I love it when students start recognizing patterns and rules on their own; it shows me they see math as the puzzle it really is and not just a collection of concepts to memorize.  

     

    On Friday we have started a new unit called Week of Inspirational Math.  It comes from a professor of mathematics education at Stanford named Jo Boaler and I loved the message in her first lesson plan: everyone is can do math.  In a short video clip she explains in language that the students can understand how the brain works, how when we struggle to find an answer or make mistakes our brain’s synapses fire off giving our brain exercise and helping it grow.  We then followed our little mini lesson with a task.  Using a red, blue, and yellow block, how many different towers can you make?  The students did great job thinking through the question and finding all the different possibilities.  Many of them were sure at the beginning the answer was 3, but everyone eventually found their way to the correct answer: 6.  One student solved it in a couple minutes, while another student took 30 minutes.  The point is everyone got there and time is not an indicator of a person’s ability to do math.  As a follow up question for those who wanted to: what if we also add in a green block? How many 4 block towers could we make?  No one has found the answer yet...

     

    Social Studies

    We’ve cycled back to our classic weekly newspaper and I’m surprised with how some of the kids missed it.  We’ve been applying our new skill of identifying an article’s main idea and some supporting details together to help us remember what we’ve read.  Tomorrow will be our first social studies quiz in a while, but I’m sure the students are going to do great!




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