Here is hoping that your long holiday break was wonderful and full of lots
of quality family time.  Mine certainly has been and I am thankful to have had
my whole family together for an extended amount of time.  
  We will begin new units of study in both reading and writing upon our
return.  In writing, we will jump into our essay unit.  Students will learn
how to write an opinion statement and to build upon this to form an essay.  We
will look at several published examples and find the underlying theme before
we try our own so they become comfortable with the process.
  Reading will look a bit different In January as well.  We are beginning
Genre Book Clubs.  Groups of students will be selected strategically based
upon similar reading levels to participate in Book Clubs that study book
series and use what they've learned about characters from a previous unit as a
basis.  They will first find similarities between characters that cross over
in a series from one book to another, then find evidence of the character's
traits and follow their development while taking it a step further by finding
evidence within the text that they can defend and discuss with their book club
members.  Kids generally have loved this format in previous years and choose
to extend this well beyond the unit by selecting texts with friends and having
rich book talks for the rest of the year.  I will definitely encourage this.
  We will continue our study of force and motion in science.  The experiments
involving push, pull, strength and friction have been trial and error for the
3rd grade scientists - hypothesizing and changing their original predictions.
They've built bridges, redesigned to increase strength and created "hoppers"
to jump as high as possible based on forces pushing upon these.  We'll
investigate friction and inertia in more depth upon returning to school.
  Prior to our break, the students began a retelling project involving the
book, The Paper Bag Princess.  They each have "retold" the story, in their own
words, then illustrated it to show how they have imagined the characters and
scenes to look.  (It was read to them without the illustrations.)  They are
completing this project on a brown paper bag.  They are doing a beautiful job
and are showing their artistic abilities!  A big thanks to Mrs. Walker for
preparing the bags for each of the children!!
  Our math consists of a unit on measurement.  We completed the first several
lessons that involved liquid measure, measuring to the nearest 1/4 inch and
also metric measure of length and height.  We also practiced pounds, ounces
and converted to grams and kilograms.  We will continue this unit with telling
time and reviewing all units of measure.  We had so many students that made
the first homework club!  I appreciate the help and importance that so many of
you place on making sure the assignments are completed and done correctly. 
The extra practice is a district goal and seems to help solidify the concepts
for many of the children.  Thank you for prioritizing this in your busy lives.  
  Thanks also for the donations of treats and paper products sent in on our
last day of school. You are the best!!
Mrs. Teskey