Finally, some gorgeous weather and opportunities to get outside. I have
let the children know that if they'd like to bring a beach towel, I will
allow some children to sit outside the classroom door and read during
Reader's Workshop. They have begun partner reading books of their own
selection. They've found someone they have not worked much with this year
and have agreed upon a text to share. They are having "book club" kind of
conversations following their reading. Some have decided to take their books
home nightly and read a chapter then too. It is their club and we are
working on building great enjoyment of reading. Hopefully, some of this
excitement carries over into summer and they will continue good reading
habits. Each year, summer loss in reading occurs. Wouldn't it be great if
your child returns to school with the same skills in reading that he or she
left with? 20 - 30 mins of reading most days will help that happen.
Check the calendar page for a busy end-of-the-year schedule. Not only do
we have unit tests to complete, but a district math test (kids cannot really
study for this), the Gates test - that is language arts, 3 portions of the
NWEA test in the same categories as winter testing, a writing assessment, and
reading assessment for any child not yet at grade level. Your child knows
their reading level or may ask me for confirmation. 38 is the goal for end
of third and, to their credit, I have many who are at a 40. That means they
are solid in reading 4th grade text. Yeah!! Our non-fiction studies have
helped to prepare them all for the increase in use of textbooks for 4th
grade. Over 80% of what we read as adults is non-fiction. Guess we should
be good at it, right?
I'm sure you noticed that we have learned two ways of multiplying numbers -
the partial products algorithm as well as lattice multiplication. We ask
that students try both, show that they are able to do both, then, they may
select the method that works for them. I generally have lattice sheets out
for them to use, or they are also quite easy to draw. They were all excited
to go home and share this unusual method with those of you who do not have
older children who've seen and used this. I told them they could amaze you
and that it would be "freaky" to their parents.
We are getting close to our Market Day. Be sure your child is following
through on their product plan and will be ready. We will work on price
points and advertising this next week. I am happy that all three 3rd grades
are participating this year. It will be a huge market and with that
much "supply" kids will need to spend carefully and make decisions based
on "opportunity costs." They each are tracking their bank accounts and look
forward to each deposit. Withdrawing is not so much fun...as we all know.
I want to take a minute to say this before the end of the year and we get
so busy. This group of children is an amazing mix. They support one
another, encourage all and stick together more than any other group I have
had. It may have to do with the small size, which is wonderful, but it also
has to do with the character of each. Thank you for giving me the
opportunity to spend 9 months helping to mold them. Yep, I push sometimes,
but only if I see that they are not working to their potential or do not
believe in themselves. Wow! Their growth and willingness to try to their
fullest potential is heartwarming. It does not happen without parental
support. Thank you and I love them all.
Watch for writing portfolios to come home as we close the year. All of
their published work is included. Rubrics breaking down grading categories
are on most. I am most excited for the non-fiction writing that we are still
in process with. This is a new writing program and it is awesome. They have
learned a tremendous amount and it is showing. They wrote on a topic of
their choice "that they know a lot about and care about." It did not involve
research, so please take time to read it with them and notice the text
features they've included such as bold headings, vocab, diagrams, partner
sentences to explain, table of contents, illustrations, sequential writing,
and more and more.
I will send a note home soon regarding our end of the year celebration.
This will be the second to last day of school. Thank you for all of the
donations of tissue and paper towels. We are set and I think we'll make it
through allergy season with our supply.