This year, we are continuing to embark upon the reading and writing workshop which is part of a balanced literacy approach towards learning to read for authentic understanding. The main focus of Reading Workshop is to develop and continue a love of reading. Students learn how to personalize their reading by choosing “Just Right” books. Instruction or mini-lessons are given to guide and accommodate your child through the reading process.
Students take more responsibility for their learning. They learn how to think about their reading. Through the teaching of mini lessons, students learn how to question, how to connect, and how to think deeper into a text. Numerous thinking strategies are modeled and the students then practice these strategies by reading their chosen “Just Right Book.” The children are given the ability to share their thoughts and ideas within small groups, whole group, or with a partner. After your child has read during our Silent Sustained Reading time, he/she will write and record his or her ideas about his/her reading in a Reader’s Notebook. The children learn to record and monitor the types of books that interest them and that they enjoy. The students are discovering and learning about genres and strategies that all proficient readers use while engaging in the marvelous world of reading for understanding!
Throughout the week I will confer with your child about his or her reading. I will monitor and keep records of your child’s reading progress. I may meet with small groups and work on particular word attack skills and then at other times we may work together in small guided reading groups to explore comprehension skills. In order to determine the level of books your child should be reading, I am currently completing Teachers College reading assessments on each child.
Our units of study for the year in Reading are: Practicing Good Habits and Using Good Strategies While Reading, Navigating Nonfiction Information in Print and Digital Form, Growing Ideas About Characters in Realistic Fiction Stories and Biographies, A folklore Genre Study including folktales, tall tales, myths, legends, and fairy tales, Reading and Responding to Short Passages, and Book Clubs.
Your child is responsible for reading every night. Like anything else, practice makes perfect! Your child should be sure to record his/her nightly reading on the reading log. Your child should be reading one book in class and the same book at night for homework.
This year your child will learn the craft of writing through the Writing Workshop. This approach, guides your child in the writing process by immersing him/her in writing every day. Your child comes prepared by bringing his/her personalized Writer’s notebook, a pencil, and his/her folder to the carpeted area. We then begin our writing time with a short instructional mini-lesson. Your child may then practice a part of the skill taught by turning and talking to a partner, sharing a portion of his/her writing piece, or engaging in a quick writing activity so that I can assess for understanding. Your child will then go back to his/her desk and actively practice the skill or technique taught through his/her writing. Currently we are gathering “seed ideas.” Children are taught that their lives and their thoughts are worth writing about. We help children realize that the small moments of their lives can be compelling stories, and we help them feel committed to capturing the truth of their experience in words. We have been learning strategies they can draw on in order to generate their own ideas for personal narrative writing. Together we create charts that will assist us in understanding and applying the writing process. Your child will choose one “seed idea,” and slowly develop it into an engaging personal narrative piece.
Through the reading of mentor texts and exploring the writing craft of many different authors, as a class, we will learn and continually practice and explore the skills necessary to create a solid piece of writing. Your child will discover and practice the writing process step by step. The goal is that the writing process becomes less abstract as your child creates and recreates his/her piece. The topics we will be exploring through our writing this year are: Launching the Writing Workshop Through Personal Narratives, Writing about our ideas in a Personal Essay, creating our own Non-fiction Chapter Books, Persuasive Writing, Writing to a Prompt, and Poetry.
Many of the mini-lessons in writing will contain a grammar component that the children will practice and apply within their written pieces. I will also address grammar through small group and individual conferences as well as through whole class lessons and activities.
Having the children participate in the Reading and Writing Workshops consecutively, allows the students to see how reading and writing connect to each other. The skills, techniques, and craft practiced in reading, outlines the foundation for ultimately writing well!
There has been a vast amount of research in the way children learn how to spell. One conclusive outcome in all the research is that children do not learn to spell by rote memorization. The way children learn to spell is by working with word patterns, dissecting words to learn prefixes, suffixes, and base words and by forming their own generalizations about how words work. A word study approach to spelling allows for differentiated instruction. Each child is able to work at his or her own instructional level. Your child has been given an initial spelling inventory to help guide us in placing him/her into a group that will focus on his/her specific needs. Word study skills will replace our traditional spelling exercises. At the end of new skill cycles, students will often have a spelling assessment. I will also assess your child’s growth and progress through informal and frequent checks. Throughout word study, students examine, manipulate, and categorize words. The focus will be on the critical features of words including sound, pattern, and meaning. In the next week or so, your child will receive a list of words. As a group we will discuss patterns and sounds that the letters make within the given words. The goal is to internalize spelling patterns, syllables within a given word, increase phonemic awareness, and think about the makeup of a word rather than memorize the spelling of each word. I will also be working with small groups on targeted vocabulary, grammar, or phonics lessons.
Our math program is called Everyday Mathematics. This program supports the common core standards in math as well as our district’s philosophy on math instruction. It is a goal of the Everyday math program that students become proficient in math facts. Everyday Math calls this Fact Power. Throughout the year your child will be participating in many hands on math activities and learning games. We are so fortunate to have our Smartboard, laptops, and iPads to support our math instruction. These undoubtedly help to engage students in their learning. This year we will focus on Operations and Algebraic Thinking(multiplication and division properties), Number and Operations in Base Ten(using place value to perform multi-digit arithmetic), Number and Operations- Fractions, Measurement and Data(estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects),and Geometry(shapes and their attributes and area). Math is about persevering and working through problems. There will be a heavy emphasis on problem solving in this curriculum. Please be sure to check your child’s Homelink every night,play the newly learned games at home with your child, practice fact triangles daily, and whenever you find yourself using math in your daily lives, point it out to your child. Discuss math’s usefulness in real-life situations. **** We will be sending home digital access codes for you to access the Everyday math website soon.
The third grade science curriculum includes four units of study: Forces and Interactions, Weather and Climate, Inheritance and Variations of Traits: Life Cycles and Traits, and Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems. The format takes an inquiry-based approach presenting concepts using scientific phenomena. In Forces and Interactions, students will work to learn about force and motion and the effects of these physical laws in our world through investigations considering floating trains, hoverboards, roller coasters, objects in motion, and magnets. The Weather and Climate unit will be integrated with social studies as students look for climate differences in different regions of the world. Students will also gather data in this unit on rainfall and temperature. They will learn to use cloud formations to make weather predictions. In the Life Cycles and Traits unit, students will study both the importance and inheritance of traits through observations. Students will explore adaptations and how they relate to survival for both plants and animals. During the Ecosystems unit, students research and investigate. Students will also consider the interaction between organisms and their environment.
The units of study for social studies this year include:
Unit 1: Citizenship/Community- the study of our community and its history. This enables the students to see the interrelationships between past and present and to view current issues with a historical perspective that informs both thinking and action through a civic lens. The focuses of this unit include understanding the significance of popular places in our town, state and country in the past and the present, understanding that they are a citizen of many places all the way from planet Earth to their town, using research skills to pull information from multiple sources, constructing maps and using maps to research and represent information, and understand their role and how to be a citizen of many places
Unit 2: Social Scientists-The students will think critically through the lens of each one of these social scientists: geographer, political scientist, economist, historian, and anthropologist to analyze objects that have grown and changed throughout history. The students will also analyze difference between rural, urban, and suburban communities. During this unit, students will analyze these different types of communities using Google Expedition Goggles, which offer immersive journeys to the students using both augmented reality and virtual reality.
Unit 3: Global Communities- The students will grow their understanding of and learn how to celebrate the similarities and differences of cultures around the world through the lens of art, music, clothing, food, hobbies/sports, language, etc. The students will also be developing an appreciation for cultures and fully understanding what a culture is and why there are many different kinds.