Friday, January 30, 2015

Busy January Days!

Here are a few snapshots from the last few weeks.  Enjoy!

Reviewing Measurement using Task Cards

How long is your arm?

Measuring the force needed to lift an object.

We measure force in Newtons.

Reviewing simple machine using Ed Heads website.

Ed Heads is always a favorite science site.

Gears are a special type of wheel and axle.

Working hard on publishing our fictional pieces.

Practicing our "Fluency Fast Phrases"

Working on Keynotes

We have started our "I Wonder" time.  We are practicing our research skills.

While researching we write "Dash Facts"where we paraphrase what we are learning.

I wonder................

Visiting Anna's Middle School Science Fair project which our class helped with her experiment.

We saw lots of great projects as we previewed the Middle School Science Fair!

This month in Food and Fitness we learned about the importance of milk in our diets.

Creating our Landform Islands (Literacy/Social Studies Project)

What landforms can you name?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Multiplication Rocks!

The following article is from Math and Reading Help Online at  It gives some great suggestions on working on the concept of multiplication at home.  In school we are working on memorizing our basic multiplication facts (0-10), multiplication and division families (2x3= 6, 3x2=6, 6 divided by 3 = 2, and 6 divided by 2=3), and word problems using multiplication and division. 

"Multiplication Word Problems for Third Grade Students

Memorizing multiplication facts can present a challenge for some third graders, and applying those facts to word problems can be even tougher. You can help your child build his or her multiplication skills by working on word problems at home. Keep reading for sample word problems and tips on creating your own.
Find available tutors

How to Create Word Problems for Third Graders

Word problems can provide your child extra practice with multiplication facts, and they can be a fun way to apply math skills to real-world situations. When developing word problems for your child to complete at home, try to keep the language and sentence structure simple since some students get distracted by unnecessary information. Encourage your child to concentrate on the numbers provided instead of the story behind the problem.
If your child's class is just beginning to learn multiplication, formulate practice problems that require only one or two steps to solve, and use simple multiplication facts. However, if your child needs a challenge, you can include multiple steps and harder multiplication problems.

Word Problems

On Paper

1. A slice of pizza costs $2. If Eric wants 3 slices, how much will he spend?
2. Jackie has 4 boxes of chips in the pantry. Each box has 9 mini-bags of chips. How many bags of chips are there?
3. Rob has 4 siblings. Each child in his family (including Rob) owns 7 shirts. How many shirts are there in total?
4. Pedro chews 2 sticks of gum each day. After a week (7 days), how many sticks of gum has Pedro chewed?
For a challenge, try including one or more problems that require multiple steps to solve. For instance, in the following problems, your child will need to use multiplication, as well as addition.
5. Chrissy bought 2 lollipops for $1 each and 4 chocolate bars for $2 each. How much did Chrissy spend in all?
6. Sam and his 2 sisters go to the ice cream parlor. A milkshake costs $2, and an ice cream cone costs $3. If Sam wants an ice cream cone, and each of his sisters wants a milkshake, how much will they spend altogether?

In Daily Life

Take your child to the store with you, and use the trip as a way to apply multiplication in the real world. For instance, if each apple costs 50 cents, and you buy 5 apples, have your child determine how much you will spend in total. These questions can be more difficult for your child because prices aren't always whole numbers; however, it can be a fun challenge."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Reading is so important! How can parents help?

The article below comes from Reading Rockets.  It shares great ideas on how parents can help encourage their child's reading skills at home.  A paper copy of this article was also sent home with your child's report card on January 9th. 

Parent tips for raising strong readers and writers
Growing readers! Brought to you by Reading Rockets, Colorín Colorado and LD OnLine
How Parents Can Support the Common Core Reading Standards
The Common Core State Standards are national standards that say what K-12 students are expected to learn in math and the English language arts. For older students, the standards expand to include literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects.
Despite the complexities of the standards, there are several basic ways parents can support their child’s learning. The recommendations below line up with the four broad areas of the Common Core reading standards: Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, and Range and Level of Complexity.
Key Ideas and Details
What it means: Your child will be encouraged to carefully read many books and texts. Within these texts, your child will be working to understand what is happening, summarize key events or points and recall details important to the story or topic.
How parents can help: After you share a story, talk about important story elements such as beginning, middle and end. Encourage your child to retell or summarize the reading. After reading nonfiction, ask questions about the information, “Is the spider an insect? How is a spider different than an insect?”
Craft and Structure
What it means: The standards within this area (or “strand”) focus on specifics within a book, for example, an author’s specific word choices or phrases. A second emphasis relates to understanding the underlying struc- ture of common types of texts, including storybooks, poems and more.
How parents can help: During and after reading, call attention to interesting words and phrases. This may include repeated phrases, metaphors or idioms (“sick as a dog,” “a dime a dozen.”) Talk about any new vocabulary and other ways the author used language or words to make the text interesting, informative, funny or sad.
(Continued on page 2)
Reading Rockets, Colorín Colorado, and LD OnLine are national education services of WETA, the flagship public broadcasting station in Washington, D.C.
Parent tips for raising strong readers and writers
Growing readers! Brought to you by Reading Rockets, Colorín Colorado and LD OnLine
How Parents Can Support the Common Core Reading Standards
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
What it means: Within this strand, students will be working to compare and contrast details from stories,
describe key ideas using details in informational text, and tell how two texts on the same topic differ.
How parents can help: For younger students, encourage your child to describe how the illustrations within a book support the story. For older students, have fun reading different versions of the same fairy or folk tale. Talk about the similarities and differences between the two books. Then switch to nonfiction and read two books on
the same topic. Compare the information in each, again focusing on similarities and differences. “Let’s look at each book and think about the words used to describe weather. How are the descriptions alike? How are they different?”

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
What it means: Teachers will be using a variety of techniques to introduce a range of books and other written material that both support and challenge a child’s reading level. This may include nonfiction and fiction, info- graphics, poetry and more. This will be done with the ultimate goal of making sure students understand what they’re reading.
How parents can help: Parents can help promote their child’s skill while developing their reading stamina (ability to “stick with it.”). This means helping them avoid frustration or anxiety about tackling a harder book. Support your reader by talking through some of the things that make a text complex, including multiple levels of meaning, inferred information (implied rather than clearly stated) or more sophisticated graphics.
Reading Rockets, Colorín Colorado, and LD OnLine are national education services of WETA, the flagship public broadcasting station in Washington, D.C.

Idiom Fun

It is raining cats and dogs?
You are in a pickle now.

What is an idiom?  If you are not sure... be sure to ask a third grader!  Below are some fun idiom pictures we completed to help us learn some common idioms.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Area and Perimeter People

We did a quick review of area and perimeter to start the new year.  Students were told to think like Legos and Minecraft and create a creative block person on centimeter grid paper.  After designing their person, they then had to calculate its area in square centimeters and perimeter in centimeters.  We had some great looking final products! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Goals for the New Year

Setting goals is an important part of learning to make ourselves better.  Third graders have been busy setting goals and writing about them for the second half of the school year.  They are in the process of publishing these on our KidBlog page. 

Take a few minutes to check them out and leave them a comment at:

Friday, January 2, 2015

It is 2015!

Welcome back and Happy 2015!  As we start 2015 in our classroom we will be focusing on the reading strategy of “Close Reading.”  Close reading asks readers to use multiple strategies while reading the same text three different times.  We read first to get the gist of the selection.  We then read it a second time to dig a little deeper, and then finally a third reading to put it all together.  We will definitely put our brains back to work after our vacation!  In math we will be starting a unit on multiplication and division.  You can help your child by practicing their multiplication facts (0-10) at home with the fact triangles I sent home at fall conferences.  We will also start a science unit that will focus on simple machines.  Finally during this second part of the year we will introduce “Genius Hour” as a weekly time for us to practice our research skills and explore topics that interest each individual.  Students will study a topic and then create a project of some type to share their learning with their classmates.  Here’s to a wonderful start to 2015!