Crandall Chronicle November 2012 Classroom News from 3-1 After a long month filled with helped out here in the lots of hard work, we classroom. The students celebrated with a frighteningly definitely deserved to celebrate fun Halloween Party! The class after all of their hard work. I dressed up in costumes, posted a photomontage on our paraded around the blog featuring photographs from neighborhood, ate treats and our Halloween parade and party. did several fun activities. We all If you have not yet had a had a great time and would like chance to view them, please to thank all of the parents who take a moment to see the fun donated items for our party or that the students had. What We’re Learning Reading t We’re StudyingIn this issue: Reading 1 The Treasures Literacy context clues, dictionary Reading Cont. 2 Program consists of six units, usage, homographs, and Writing 2 each containing six weeks of multiple-meaning words. instruction. The last week of Students were also Writing Cont. 3 each unit offers an introduced to text features Science 3 opportunity to review the key like bar graphs, timelines, Science Cont. 4 strategies and concepts diagrams, and dictionary Math 5 covered throughout the unit. entries. At the end of each Reminders 5 In the first unit, the students unit, students complete a Web Updates 6 worked on comprehension unit assessment that shows Dates/Events 6 strategies that included which skills and strategies Student identifying characters, they have become confident setting, plot, main ideas, in applying. The second unit Challenge 7 details, problems, and assessment will be shared Race Across the solutions. They also learned with you at parent-teacher States 7 vocabulary skills that conferences, so that we can included compound words, discuss your child’s progress.
PAGE 2 OF 7Reading ContinuedToday we completed the fourth week They practiced identifying parts of theof unit two. So far in this unit, stories that could be real compared tostudents have been introduced to the those that were strictly fantasy. Wegenre of fantasy through plays, short have also studied facts and opinionsstories, and informational articles. through a variety of activities.Writing Every other week, the students choose one selection that they wouldOur writing program, The Writers’ like me to read and comment on.Express, or WEX as we refer to it in Six separate excerpts are chosen eachclass, incorporates many different week from different students’ bindersaspects of the writing process into to be displayed on a wall in oureach daily lesson. Lessons begin with classroom. These excerpts area skill drill, during which time examples of good writing that focusstudents learn a new writing skill and on the targeted skill addressed thatreceive time to practice it. A few week. Juicy words used in studentindividuals are then provided with a writing are also displayed for all tochance to share their work with the see. These displays are a visualclass and receive positive comments reminder to the class of what goodfrom peers. writing looks like and provide them with some examples that they can useThe students then apply their newly in their own writing.attained skills in a longer piece ofwriting. After a verbal warm-up, The lessons in Unit 1 of WEX havewhich helps the students to begin concentrated on building the skillsthinking about the writing prompt, necessary to write short personalthey begin their writing, focusing on narratives. The students have beenthe particular targeted skill that was learning to focus their writing on oneaddressed in the lesson. While the specific moment instead of severalstudents are writing, I walk around different events. This helps theand provide over-the-shoulder- students to write specific detailsconferences, giving students instead of general statements. It alsocomments about their writing and enables their readers to betteroffering guidance. Once the specified understand the main idea of theiramount of time is complete, a few writing. The students also continue tostudents then share their writing and use descriptive words to show theirreceive comments from peers. ideas instead of just telling about them.
PAGE 3 OF 7Writing Continued Monthly Writing WordsAnother way students practicerecently learned skills is through Every month the students receive arevision assignments. While list of writing words that they aremaking comments on their writing, responsible for learning how to spell.I will also identify an area in which The cumulative test is given towardsthey can apply the targeted skill. the end of each month. The test atDuring the week, the students are the end of November will be on all ofgiven time to complete the the words from October andassignment and improve their November. Remember, once theywriting.The students will now be have been tested on a set of words,introduced to the extended WEX they are held responsible for spellingwriting process, which consists of them correctly on all assignments.selecting a previously written One point will be deducted on gradedpassage, revising to develop ideas, assignments for having a misspelledmaking revisions, and editing and writing word. Therefore, pleasewriting a final draft. encourage your child to look over his or her work carefully to check forThis will be the first time that the correct spelling, capitalization, andthird graders will take a piece of punctuation!their writing through all of the stepsin the publishing process. I lookforward to reading their finishedpersonal narratives!ScienceStudents dove right into our first containing a variety of different itemsscience unit: The Solar System! ranging from containers of water,I introduced the unit by asking the crayons, and toy cars, to magnets,students to draw a picture of what spring scales, and marbles. Thethey think a scientist looks like. students were asked to create aThe children discovered that the question that had about themajority of them had drawn materials. One example was:scientists that were men wearing When released, will a pull-back truckglasses in a white lab coat and that is attached to a spring scale goholding beakers. The students then further than a regular toy truck? Icompleted an inquiry-based was so impressed with theiractivity in which they designed inquisitiveness. They then performedan experiment themselves! Each the experiment to find an answer,group of children received a bag and they recorded their observations.
PAGE 4 OF 7Science ContinuedWe also explored various forms of We began our UbD project in the LMCmodeling like mental models, a few weeks ago and are in the finalpictorial models, physical models, and stages of the project. UbD, whicheven digital models that we created stands for Understanding by Design isusing a computer program called a research project focusing on anAnimation-ish. essential question. Students were taught and practiced effective researchWe began our study of the solar strategies while investigating thesystem by focusing on the causes essential question: “What makes yourdaytime and nighttime. Our class planet unique?”made frequent trips outdoors toobserve the apparent movements of Small groups of children workedthe sun, the movements of the moon, cooperatively to research one of theand patterns with shadows. We have eight planets. Once the research andhad many rich discussions about how note taking was complete, theythese different parts of the system organized their notes by categorizingwork together and have cleared up them. These categories were dividedmany misconceptions that the up among the students in the group,students originally had. who used the notes to write a script for a newscast. We are in the processThe class learned about the moon’s of filming the newscasts in front of amovement, its composition, and its green screen to create the effect thatphases. The students brought home a the students are reporting live fromcalendar several weeks ago to record their planets. Once the films aretheir moon observations for the complete they will be viewed in classmonth. We have been discussing their and used as a tool to teach the otherobservations almost daily and groups about the various planets.recording their findings on a classmoon calendar. The students are very Our culminating activity for our scienceexcited to see the various phases that unit will be a Solars (like the Oscars)take place during the lunar cycle! award ceremony! Based on the facts provided in the student films, theWe recently did an activity to discover children will vote for planets to win anjust how vast our solar system is and award for various categories. Theto gain a better understanding of the winning planets will be announced atrelative sizes of the planets, moon, our award show, which will beand sun. Several student volunteers complete with paparazzi, a red carpet,made a short film to demonstrate what and acceptance speeches! Everyone iswe learned. Please take a moment to really looking forward to this funview the film, which is posted on our student-only celebration. Moreclass blog. Not only will you be information about this event will beentertained, but you might just learn sent home soon!something new!
PAGE 5 OF 7 Math skills to guess and find the lengths of items around the classroom. They Several weeks ago, we completed Unit also explored the perimeter and area 2 of Everyday Math. We reviewed of different polygons. Using cans of several strategies for adding large varying sizes, the students learned numbers, including the partial sums how to measure diameter and method (finding the sum of the circumference. They learned a trick to hundreds, the tens, and the ones, and make measuring the circumference a then adding these “partial sums” bit easier. Ask your child to tell you together) and the “carrying” or about our special “about three times” “regrouping” method. The students rule! practiced using both methods, but they On Monday, the students took a chose to use whichever method was cumulative test over the first three easiest for them. The students learned math units. The purpose of this the “trade first” method to subtract assessment is to see which skills the large numbers. This method involves students have retained since the trading 1 ten for 10 ones, or 1 hundred beginning of the year, and which ones for 10 tens. We also used several need to be reviewed. These will also different diagrams to organize and be shared with you at conferences. solve story problems. We recently began our fourth math Last week the students took their Unit unit, which focuses on multiplication 3 test, which focused on measurement and division. The students will be and its different applications. learning new strategies to help them Throughout this past unit, the students perform these mathematical used their estimating and measuring operations. MONTHLY REMINDERS* I will be sending home a set of book order forms at the beginning of December. Please do not feel that there is any obligation to place an order. If you do choose to order books as a holiday gift for your child, I can send them home in a sealed package to help keep them a surprise. Please just send me a note requesting this. You may send in the order forms with your payment or order online to receive a coupon for a free book. Our online activation code is GRNPB.* Our class is doing an excellent job of remembering to read 100 minutes each week. Keep it up!* Please make sure that your child is coming to school dressed for the weather!
PAGE 6 OF 7 Class Website Updates!Visit our class blog and check out these recently added items: Photographs from the Halloween party Videos of last month’s Student Challenge Projects Halloween Poems - Fluency Race Across the States Math Fact Practice / States & Capitals Practice WEX Excerpts Student Techspert Reports Class Pet StoriesIMPORTANT DATES & UPCOMING EVENTSNovember 6 - Election Day (No School)November 7 - Photo RetakesNovember 8 - Book ClubNovember 14 - 3rd Grade Musical (2:30 and 7:00)November 15 - Book ClubNovember 16 - Solars Awards (Student-Only Event)November 16 - Progress ReportsNovember 19/20 - Parent-Teacher ConferencesNovember 21-23- Thanksgiving BreakNovember 29 - Book ClubNovember 30 - Dryden Spirit Wear Day
Reading OF 7 PAGE 7 ContinuStudent Challenge ed To complete this month’s challenge you might need to get a little messy. Your challenge is to create a model of our solar system! You may choose to create either a digital model or a physical model that includes these objects: sun, 8 planets, our moon (Feel free to add any other objects that belong to our solar system too!) Be prepared to present your model to the class. You may let your creativity go wild. If you are creating a physical model you may use any materials that you would like. A digital model can be created on an iPad or other similar device or on the computer. Please see me if you have any questions!Race Across the States Update:The class has received 86 postcards from 30 different states, 14foreign countries, and our nation’s capital! We are still in need ofpostcards from the following states:Arkansas Louisiana North CarolinaCalifornia Maryland North DakotaConnecticut Mississippi Rhode IslandDelaware Montana South CarolinaGeorgia Nebraska UtahIdaho Nevada VirginiaKansas New JerseyIf you know anyone in one of these states who would be willingto send us a postcard telling us a little bit about their state, theclass would really appreciate it! Please forward our thanks toeveryone who has spent the time to jot us a note and send us apostcard. We have all learned some really interesting facts!