Third Grade News

 Third Grade News




Happy March everyone! I can’t believe how quickly the school year is going by despite all the snow days and delays we’ve been having.  Hopefully March will provide us with fewer of those.

In spelling, we have two groups working on two different skills.  Miss Segala’s group is working on r-controlled syllables.  These have a vowel followed by an “r”, which changes the sound, students should use the dictionary to check spelling options.  “Ar” and “or” can make the /er/ sound at the end of a multisyllable word, as in beggar and doctor.  Having the letter “w” or the letters “qu” in front of the “ar” or “or” can change the sound they make, as in warm and worm.  Mrs. Chesbro’s group is working on consonant-l-e (-le) syllables.  These are always found at the end of a multisyllable word.  The silent “e” is there because every syllable must have a vowel.  Another spelling option for the same sound at the end of a word is the schwa before an “I” as in nickel.  Students who are voracious readers will often know the correct spelling option, but students are encouraged to use the dictionary to check whether the last syllable is -le or the schwa.

In reading, we last worked on theme, which is the big idea or lesson that the author wants the reader to learn.  The author uses the characters and story to teach the lesson, but the lesson has nothing to do with the actual lesson.  for example, we read a story about a group of brothers who argued all the time, each thinking he was the best/most important, but who had to complete a seemingly impossible task without fighting.  The lesson learned is that when working together, you can achieve anything.  Our next reading until will focus on problem and solution text structure as we read nonfiction expository text.  We’ll also work on using text evidence from more than one source to support answers to questions, something that is expected more and more.

In writing, we continue working on informational writing.  The class spent quite a bit of time typing their essays describing the Puritans of the 1630s and how they are different from the Pilgrims of the 1620s.  This week we are self-scoring, peer-scoring, revision and editing.  We also continue learning about grammar, figures of speech, and sentence types as we build complex sentences made up of a dependent clause and simple sentence.

In math, we finished our geometry unit before vacation with an assessment.  This week we are beginning a new unit on multiplication.  Over the past few months, students have been using multiplication and related division facts, and now we will delve further into these as we learn multiples of tens and fact extensions (knowing 4 X 3 = 12 can help students know 40 X 30 = 1200, or 14 X 3 = 312 and 24 X 3 = 612).  Eventually, students will also learn to solve two-digit and three-digit multiplication problems, first through the partial product method, then through lattice, before finally learning the traditional algorithm that many parents learned when they were in school.  The purpose of the first two methods is to help students focus on the importance of place value in multiplication.  Students should be practicing their basic single-digit times single-digit facts daily to become automatic.  If your child has not mastered their basic addition and subtraction facts, (s) he should continue practicing those too.  Without automaticity in basic facts, further math will be more labor intensive.

In science, we finished up our magnet unit.  Students have conducted investigations to determine the nature of forces between two magnets based on their orientations (opposite poles attract, similar poles repel) and distance relative to each other (depending on the strength of magnets, they can attract or repel each other at different distances).  We watched a short video of a maglev train to see that electromagnets are used to change the level of friction between the train and track so that the train could move over 300 mph.  Children were also asked to define a simple problem that could be solved by using interactions between magnets.  They were able to identify examples in everyday life in which magnets are used to solve problems-holding doors open in the school hallway, keeping refrigerator doors closed, holding papers up on the metal board, etc.  Our next unit will focus on life cycles of plants and animals, and the characteristics/traits that are inherited.  The state frameworks for basis of this unit are attached to this newsletter.

Ben and Nicole, our Americorps volunteers, will be finishing their time at our school on Friday, March 10.  The third graders have really enjoyed their lessons on adaptations and evolution.  We wish them all the best as they move on to their spring assignments.  Keep an eye out for a fun stargazing night sponsored by SCA on March 10!

That’s about it for this week..  As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me at the school by email at send in a note, or call me at 664-6023.  If I am not immediately available, I will get back to you as soon as possible.

🙂 Mrs. Chesbro