Update January 10, 2016

Dear Third Grade Families,

This week was a busy one as students eased back into the swing of third grade.  Students worked on reading paired texts and comparison writing, partial products multiplication strategies, identifying verbs, and understanding the first Colonial colonies of Roanoke and Jamestown.  

In past updates I have written about the importance of growth mindsets in students.  I recently read an article on growth mindsets in math and found some interesting ideas that I want to pass on.  Remember that to encourage growth mindsets parents and educators should praise effort over personal traits and encourage students to learn from mistakes by developing new strategies to approach problems.  Many students approach math with the expectation that they have failed if they can’t quickly solve a problem using a prescribed algorithm.  With the mindset approach teachers can help students focus on learning from that failure by giving feedback and encouraging them to try to problem in a different way.  This is one reason why our math curriculum introduces so many different ways of solving problems.  We are working to present more “open problems” that allow students to “struggle” and interact with math concepts on deeper levels.  

Academics:

ELA:  Next week in Readers’ Workshop students will read an article on Jamestown, answer comprehension questions, and complete two short writing assignments using the article as a resource.  For spelling:  Core Words:  once, animal, life, enough, took, four, head, above, kind, began.  Content words:  Virginia Company, Mayflower Compact, Pilgrim, Plymouth, religion.  In Writers’ Workshop we will continue our work on verbs and finish up cursive handwriting.  Students will be practicing cursive in more curriculum areas.  

Math:  In math we will work on Lattice Multiplication and traditional multiplication algorithm this week.  In order to provide opportunities for practice, there will be math homework each night.  I want students to use a calculator to check their answers and then find their errors.  Please allow them access to calculators to check their answers. Students should also continue to practice their multiplication facts daily.  Those who are practicing their facts are working through Rocket Math quickly and have improved accuracy in solving other problems.  

Mrs. Larson shared this math resource with us earlier this week.  Research has shown that reading Bedtime Math Stories can improve math performance.  Here is a link to the article and the Bedtime Math website. 

http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2015/10/bedtime-problems-boost-kids-math-performance

http://bedtimemath.org/

Please let me know if you decide to implement this strategy!

Social Studies:  This week we are going to wrap up our mini unit on the early Colonies of the New World.  We will concentrate on Jamestown Colony (no Disneyfied Pocahontas!) and Plymouth Plantation.  Our goal for this unit is to introduce students to the reasons that the colonies were started in the New World and the lifestyles of the early Colonists.

Service Learning Project:  PCCS has had a long history of student engagement with Service Learning Projects.  In the past at the third and fourth grade level, students were involved with supporting families at Staben House, a housing facility for families in transitions, by shopping for holiday gifts with donations from the PCCS community. With the creation of the Sustainable Schoolyard, our grade band acquired twelve raised beds.  At that time, our SLP was to develop the beds, and being mindful of our curriculum, we planted The Three Sisters Garden with corn, beans, and squash for Farm to Table meals in the fall.

Troop 188 building the SSY

Troop 188 building the SSY

 

Troop 188 building the SSY

Troop 188 building the SSY

Completed SSY.  (Center is Chris Ward, my son!)

Completed SSY. (Center is Chris Ward, my son!)

The next year we extended our growing season by building four cold frames and planting greens and radishes.  Students researched plants that needed a shorter days to harvest period.  Students then used online resources to locate local food banks and food pantries that were willing to accept fresh produce.  Last year students created Interactive Garden activities for each of the classroom gardens.  This included Garden Bingo and Garden Scavenger Hunts.  

Cold frames

Cold frames

Ready to donate.

Ready to donate.

Interactive Garden Bingo

Interactive Garden Bingo

This year we plan to return to our sustainable schoolyard and will be using the cold frames again.  In the fall our grade band raised money for spring gardening by selling our Butternut squash harvest.  We plan to purchase additional materials for cold frames, seeds, and other gardening supplies.  This year’s students will research and plan a harvest for the cold frames that we can donate to local food pantries.  With the additional cold frames we will be able have a higher yield.  In addition, students will research and contact promising food pantries for interest in a donation of produce.

Fall harvest

Fall harvest

Specials:  All specials will meet as usual this week.  Students will miss Art on Friday afternoon due to the Early Release.

Remember that Friday, January 15 is an Early Release and January 18 is a non attendance day in honor of Martin Luther King.  

Important Dates:

1/15  Early Release
1/18  MLK Day, no school
1/20 Farm to Table
1/26 Board Meeting
1/28 Lottery Open House

Enjoy your week!

Mrs. McGovern