We are in the final stretch.  The beautiful weather is cooperating and
allowing us to often take an extra afternoon recess.  That breaks up the day 
and keeps the wiggles from taking over when the children are getting anxious
for the lazy days of summer.
  We are studying plants / animals in our final science unit.  Observations of
plants outdoors, the effects on plants when they do not have the bare
essentials, and the differences between plants and animals.  The kids are
having fun with this unit.  We will wrap it up and have on final science test
before we end the school year.  Watch for a study guide to come home prior to
the test.
  The class is doing a wonderful job learning several ways to multiply
multi-digit numbers.  As with many tasks in Everyday Math (EDM) we teach
several algorithms, or ways in which to solve something.  We ask that the kids
give each an honest try.  Then, they can choose their favorite or the one that
"works" best for them and they can stick with it.  Yes, when done correctly,
each one will arrive at the same answer, but unlike when most of us attended
school, there is not just one right way and different learning styles will
find various strategies easier to use.  Thanks for bearing with the odd
configurations as they came home on homework papers.  I know some of you were
open-minded, learning lattice along with your kids.  A bit fun, isn't it?
  We are in our final writing unit, realistic fiction.  I have seen tremendous
improvement in the children's writing abilities throughout this school year. 
I have some great authors and many are developing their own style and voice. 
This is their own personality coming through.  If you have a favorite author
and recognize their writing when you hear it, you know what I mean.  This is
an awesome accomplishment in third grade.  Their non-fiction books are graded
and ready to be returned to them.  Please know that this unit was new to me. 
It is part of our new writing series.  It included fantastic lessons that
coincided with our non-fiction reading at the same time, teaching about
features such as how the text is structured.  You should see some comparing /
contrasting, some cause / effect, what we call "partner" sentences where
material is explained further and parallel sentences as well.  The content was
not researched, so if there is some inaccurate information in the book, that
is okay.  The students were asked to write about something that they "know a
great deal about."  They were not looking up information or checking for
accuracy.  Most did a wonderful job.  
  I am in the midst of doing end-of-the-year reading assessments.  These are
ongoing throughout the year, but it is exciting to report to the students and
parents how much growth the kids have made in third grade.  By the way, the
expectation in third grade is the the largest reading span.  We have more
reading levels to cover than any other grade, so it is exciting to report that
our kids, overall, have stepped up to the plate!!  All have made big gains in
reading.  Of course, you will get particulars on your child, but thank you,
thank you, thank you for helping by promoting the reading at home.  Those that
read at home, turned in reading logs each week and read a wide variety of text
improved by greater margins for sure.  The fluency and comprehension increase
when this occurs consistently!!
  We have taken 3 MAP (NWEA) standardized tests over the last several weeks. 
These are the same computerized tests I spoke with each of you about at your
child's fall parent teacher conference.  Scores for these recent tests will be
sent home.  However, it is possible that if your child either rushed, or did
not show improvement over their fall score (just a few children), that I had
them retake the test.  This is not to torture them (hah!), but there is no way
that a student has not made improvement in each of these areas since coming in
to third grade. The computer, sometimes, may select the lower score as the
student's "final" score to record because of the "margin of error" setting.  I
will try to note to each of you on report cards of the scoring is incorrect
that you receive.  At least you will know that your student's ability is
higher than their first try indicated.  Rushing can become a habit.  
  As we wrap up social studies, we are studying how Michigan became a state
and what happened to bring so many settlers to MI.  This is where their 4th
grade studies will pick up.  I am incorporating the study of economy with
wants vs. needs, products / services, etc.  Both of these units will be
combined on the final unit test.  Watch for a study guide to be sent home
prior to the test.
  A huge thank you to Mrs. Sutherby for taking on the 3rd grade
end-of-the-year party.  If you've seen the note or received an email, you know
that we are celebrating with all three classes on June 11th with a taco bar
and dessert bar.  We look forward to celebrating the end of a successful year
with all of the kids.
  Another huge thanks to Ms. Murdock for organizing a bottle / coin drive for
a student's family in need.  What a great way to pull our classroom community
together to help another.  
  On June 4, the children who have mastered their math facts and passed at
least 0's - 10's multiplication timed tests will be treated to an ice cream
party. This is a third grade goal.  We announced the party would be late May,
but needed to postpone it a bit due to a few conflicts.  Perhaps a few more
will reach the goal by then too!
  I encourage each of you to please take the time to view your child's report
card on Skyward if you did not request paper copies be sent home in the fall.
 It is discouraging for teachers, and I would imagine, your child, to know
that a parent is not viewing grades and comments throughout the year.  Huron
Valley went "paperless" a couple of years ago and without special request, you
will not receive a report card.  However, teachers can see who views a card
and who does not.  Studies show that without a home / school connection,
progress will be minimal.  Every child worked very hard this year.  Please,
take the time to read their report card, discuss their progress with them and
spend a little time focusing on what they may need this summer to make fourth
grade the best it can be. 
  Lastly, as the end of the school year gets hectic, I will take a minute now
to thank you for the opportunity to teach your child.  It isn't something I
take lightly.  Each and every one of them is a gem, so individual. 
Collectively, they are a kind-hearted, high-spirited, creative group.  I feel
like I got to know each of these students very well as we were lucky to have a
small class. I will always love to see their faces at my door for a visit and
to hear their accomplishments for years to come.  I will miss this group of
witty, little smarties, but they are looking ready for 4th grade!
Mrs. Teskey