Where did November go!? We have been so busy in third grade. We spent the month of November assessing students for report cards and conferencing with parents. It was wonderful meeting with you all about your child and working together to meet their needs in 3rd grade. As always, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. I will not be adding to the newsletter again until after Christmas, so I would like to extend my Holiday Greetings to you and yours and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!
All of the math classes have now made it through Unit 2 of our math program. The students are all becoming proficient with multiplication, using a variety of strategies and are now being introduced to division as a "turn-around" fact to multiplication. The next unit will bring us back to multidigit addition and subtraction so we can solidify these skills. Below are students using a skip counting strategy for multiplication.
FARMS Kitchen at the Y
Another fantastic resource for us is the FARMS kitchen. It's even better now that we can just walk right over to the Y! We were able to connect our visit to our curriculum by having a guest speaker help us with our menu. Louise Miller, the education director for the Lincoln County Historical Society, helped us create a Wabanaki menu that we could prepare and eat together. We made succotash, corn pone and squash and bean stew. We set tables, ate together and then cleaned up and did the dishes. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Dana Morse, Marine Scientist, explains how Oyster Farmers grow oysters in the Damariscotta River here at the Bryant Boatyard.
The Darling Marine Center
We have a wonderful partnership with the Darling Center as they provide a context for our marine studies in the classroom. Our area is rich in resources and we are happy to take advantage of site visits such as these. At the DMC, we learn about the Damariscotta River, the environment and habits in and around it, aquaculture, oysters and the Marine Science professions. We were fortunate to have Heather Leslie, the director of the center and GSB 3rd grade parent, lead us around and provide some leadership in the form of University students to help educate our kids.
Bad Joke Show at Mobius
We were invited to attend the First Annual Bad Joke Show at Mobius. We are fortunate to have a great connection here because of our classroom parent, Rebecca Emmons who is the Executive Director. Our students prepared some jokes ahead of time and some were provided once we got there. They were a little nervous and shy at first but they gained confidence after they saw new friends from Mobius go up to the microphone. Before we knew it, there was a line formed with our excited students ready to tell some pretty awful jokes. A great time was had by all and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We hope we can get together again soon. Miriam and Ava were crowned the winners!
Our project time at the end of the day continues to be a favorite work time for our students. Currently, our projects include Wigwam model village construction, Native American Thanksgiving Message Art, Folktale Writing and Illustrating and Wabanaki Basic Needs Slideshow. We are looking for some more birch bark for our wigwams so if you would like to take a walk in the woods and collect some bark, we would appreciate it so much. Also, this is a time when extra hands are very helpful. If you would like to come in and volunteer from 1:15-2:15, that would be great!
Flexible Seating and Standing
In third grade we do whatever it takes to make learning happen! Students have many choices when working independently - would you choose a balancing board to stand on while working on the computer? Or a milk crate for a cozy reading spot? It works for third graders...who knew?
Maine Sea Farms
Seth Barker from Maine Sea Farms came in to teach us about another type of aquaculture - growing seaweed. It was a fascinating presentation and our third graders were an impressive audience and asked some great questions.
We love books! One of my most important goals for third grade is to instill a love of books in my students. If they love books, they will read and the more they read, the stronger readers they become. Students love to bring in a favorite book from home to share with the class and they are doing a fabulous job reading aloud to their classmates. They are also sharing and recommending their chapter books that they are reading in class and at home. We are charting our progress and have been submitting recommendations to our school wide "Caterworm" project, which is tracking student readers all around the school. In the last two months, our class has read 67 chapter books!
The GSB Nature Trail
Spending time outside is not only a great way to enhance our studies in the classroom but it's also a terrific way to bond as a class. It's so important for kids to come together as a group in order to create the optimal learning environment. We use our outside campus for these endeavors. Our Librarian, Mrs. Greenleaf, has designed a story walk in our woods, which is a lovely addition.
Our new writing project is Folktales. This genre uses what we learned about writing narratives and adds the important elements of folktale, legend and fairy tale stories. In class, we have been sharing and reading Native American folktales. The students are discovering that these stories all have a lesson or a moral they are trying to convey. We have discussed how Native Americans use stories to pass on their beliefs and lessons, much like many cultures around the world. These stories will be turned into books with illustrations to be shared with our classmates and families.
We are continuing our Mentor Sentence work which enforces grammar and parts of speech, all while examining the structure of some of the best children's literature. When students pick apart their favorite stories, they start to understand the important elements in a good story, which starts to transfer to their writing.
We are also making gains on our reading goals. Our students are starting to understand which books are best for them based on a combination of interest, genre and level. In third grade, our goal as teachers is to pass on the love of reading. Our program is designed to give them time to read and learn about themselves as readers so that they grow into skillful and prolific readers who chose to read good books because they love them. They are not all there yet, but third grade is an important year for establishing this ideal.
In math, we are continuing to work in our differentiated groups. We have all finished Unit 1 and are deep into Unit 2, which is a third grade favorite. This unit introduces the concepts involved in multiplication and division. Focusing on repeated addition makes multiplication accessible to kids who don't think they know how to do multiplication. It builds a foundation for success when they truly understand what multiplication is and can easily convert repeated addition facts into multiplication facts. (ex. 2+2+2= 6, can also be written 2x3=6.) Minds Blown! The wonderful aspect of our team teaching model is that we can spend as much time as we need on solidifying these foundational skills with our respective groups. Those that understand these concepts can move on quickly to more challenging problems and those that need more time and practice, are given that instruction.
Our local firefighters came once again to GSB to reinforce the important life-saving rules of fire safety. By the time they are in third grade they have learned how to keep their families safe in a fire. They love going into the smoke trailer and pretending to escape out the back window. And the tour of the fire truck is always fun too!
Our science buddies are in Mr. Feltis' 6th grade class. They come to our room and we work in teams to complete science challenges. We have been investigating fossils together and are now planning a poster to describe why fossils from the same site can come from different habitats depending on the depth of the dig.
Chewonki came to teach us about predator and prey animals. Jessica brought a bard owl named Luna, a tarantula named Parker, and a corn snake. We learned the about the characteristics and adaptations of predators and how they are different from those of prey animals. We learned about food chains and the importance of all animals and plants in keeping the balance of ecosystems. Their visit connects to our science standards that explore animal and plant adaptations and habitats.