December 22, 2015 Update

Dear Third Grade Families,

With the Winter Solstice just passed, we are looking forward to longer light hours as we begin the long countdown to Summer Solstice.  The rain and warm temperatures don’t do much to make it feel like Christmas is just days away.  

The last week of school prior to the holiday break was full of good times and high spirits!  It was particularly wonderful to see so many families present at the Holiday Sing and at the Grinch Christmas Party.  We were especially honored to have a former PCCS student, Maeve Daw, visit the classroom.  She is a cadet at the Air Force Academy and inspired the classroom with stories of boot camp, new friendships, and her hopes to be a pilot.  The girls were especially impressed! 


ELA:  We will begin genre study in Readers’ Workshop.  Our first genre will be historical fiction since we are beginning our unit on Colonial America.  The lessons that I use to introduce each genre will include an artist study. The historical fiction artist is Joseph Cornell, and he expressed history through Cornell Boxes, which are shadow boxes with collections of items that tell a story of an event or an important period in history.  We are going to see historical fiction as a merging of history and fiction.  Some kids have a hard time distinguishing among biography, realistic fiction, and historical fiction.  The guided reading groups will complete a week-long study of paired texts:  pairing literature with a related informational text. Our spelling routine will be the same for the winter and spring. The Core Words:  until, form, food, keep, children, feet, land ,side, without, boy  Content words:  colony, England, Roanoke, Jamestown, tobacco. The content words will come from our social studies unit on the early colonies.  In Writers’ Workshop we are finishing up a sequence “How-To” piece and will have “Grammar Boot Camp” with a focus on verbs.  We will also work hard to finish up cursive letter formation. Students will also be required to write select assignments in cursive writing.  

Math:  After the holiday we will continue the unit on multiplication:  multiplication fact memorization strategies, factor pairs, multiples of ten, and partial products.  We will present several multiplication strategies for solving two digit X two digit problems.  I will send home a cheat sheet on partial products and lattice method for you to use when needed.  Students are also asked to view this video on lattice multiplication by January 10, 2016.

Please be sure to keep up multiplication fact practice with your students.  The extra practice is essential.

Social Studies:  Our 4th unit of the year in SS/Science will be a Social Studies unit on the early colonies of America.  We begin our study with a look at the lost colony of Roanoke, the settlement at Jamestown, and the colony at Plymouth.  We will focus on the reasons for colonization, choices made by the colonists in regards to site choice and use of natural resources, and success rate. We will return to a Science focus in Unit 5.  

All specials will meet as usual.  Be sure to return gym shoes and any other washed items in January.

Dates to Remember:

1/4/16 School resumes

1/6/16 Early Release

1/6/16 Mrs. McGovern at professional development

Have a wonderful break,

Cynthia McGovern