What’s Happening in Class: We completed our science unit called Earth and Me. I hope your child has shared some of our investigations with you. All of the ideas have been explored using hands-on activities that actively engage the students and have been fun as well!
In writing, we are completing our unit on personal narratives. We focused on beginning with a strong lead, and ending with a conclusion that makes a lasting impression. In addition, we have been learning about proper punctuation and spelling in our writing. I enjoy differentiating these lessons based on each child’s level and need. For example, we have some kids who are still working on remembering to begin sentences with capital letters. Others have mastered this skill and are ready to learn how to use commas or apostrophes. Still others may be ready to use quotation marks. When I meet with the children individually for editing conferences, these are the things we discuss. I am looking forward to sharing this information about your child with you at conferences! (Please make sure to read my earlier post about our Author Celebration, and check our photo gallery for a picture of your child sharing his or her book with our class!)
In reading, we will soon begin our second book club. This time we are reading a biography of Helen Keller. In addition to reading and sharing the book together, I am will also have the children complete study guides at the end of each chapter. This is done for a few reasons. One, I would like to check their overall comprehension of the story. I am also checking to see how they respond to written questions. I look for capital letters and proper punctuation, and for complete sentences. It is not easy to explain to a third grader why this is not a complete sentences: “Because she felt the ground move.” I am working on helping them understand and would appreciate your support in this area. When you see their work, ask them if they used a complete sentence, or proper conventions in their sentences. I am stressing personal best with the children and they are learning that the expectations are high! I believe we should expect nothing but their best, and we will continue to work on this. Some strategies we will be focusing on are:
Comprehension: “I understand what I read”
1. Predict what will happen next; use text to confirm
2. Infer and support with evidence
3. Make a picture or mental image
4. Retell the story
Accuracy: “I can read the words”
1. Chunk letters and sounds together
2. Blend sounds; stretch and reread
3. Use known words to decode unknown words
Fluency: “I can read accurately, with expression, and understand what I read”
1. Reread text
2. Read appropriate level texts that are a good fit
3. Use punctuation to enhance phrasing and prosody
Expand Vocabulary: “I know, find, and use interesting words”
1. Tune in to interesting words
2. Use new vocabulary in speaking and writing
3. Voracious reading
In math, we have finished Unit 3 and taken our assessment. We will begin Unit 4 on Monday. You will find the parent letter in your Friday folder today. Remember to keep this handy, as it has all of the answers to the Home Links on it! I know sometimes you may be unsure about the worksheets and the parent letter is very helpful to have handy. Also, remember you have access to the everydaymath website. I sent the log in information home in October. In addition to playing games and practicing their math skills, they also have access to the student textbook! So, on the Home Link where it says to consult your student reference book for information, you can find that all online. I hope you find that useful.
As we begin our Multiplication unit, I will encourage you to practice all math facts with your children as you see them coming home. We have worked on multiplying by 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 and will continue to practice these facts for a week or so. Next we will move on to 3 and 4. Please make sure your children are able to complete the homework assignments and support them if they need it. Our math program emphasizes the understanding of the process, but they do need to memorize the facts and know them by rote. The best way to encourage this is to make or purchase flash cards and work with your child a few minutes daily. There are also lots of fun websites where your child can practice these facts. Two I have used are mathisfun.com and multiplication.com. You can create worksheets for your child, too- just google it! You will notice an increase in the homework expectation as we move through this unit, but it is not intended to be burdensome. Children who know their times tables fluently should be able to complete the assignments in about 2 minutes, so the additional homework should not be a problem.
Conferences: How do you like the new way of scheduling conferences? I hope it was convenient for you. I can’t wait to see you! Please come to your scheduled conference on time. Thank you!
Needed for our classroom: We need Kleenex! We are going through 3 boxes a week! I have never seen children go through tissues so quickly, but we have some pretty runny noses, so I am asking all of you to please send in a box or two for our class. Thank you!