I hope that all of you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving break.  We celebrated the
holiday in class with our submarine sandwich lunch on Tuesday.  We also took
two "virtual tours" through Scholastic's educational website.  One was a visit
to Plimouth Plantation at Plymouth Rock and the other, Life on the Mayflower.
 Both gave realistic views into the lives and hardships of the Pilgrims.  The
kids had thoughtful questions that showed they were thinking quite deeply
beyond the tours.  
  We were lucky to have a visitor Tuesday afternoon as well.  A representative
from Milford Masonic Lodge came to present each third grader with their very
own dictionary.  We will learn to use these in various ways for several
different purposes.  They are theirs to keep and each will take it hope
 We have been working really diligently in math to be sure that each student
is able to add and subtract multi-digit numbers with carrying and trading in math.
  Though several students have expressed that this is not something they need
practice with, continued practice with problems involving zeros in the tens
place and ones place on top in subtraction have proven this to be incorrect. 
I have formed small groups, focus lessons and individual help at times to
correct habits and misconceptions that may have been previously formed.  With
the common core concepts in place, it is so very important that we master each
concept.  This week, I am administering a quiz over several concepts we have
practiced repeatedly.  I feel like the majority of the students are solid in
these at this time. Rushing through work continues to be an issue.  Sometimes
not looking at the operation sign causes students to add when the problem is
subtraction or not checking for accuracy results in a wrong answer when they
truly do know how to solve.  We'll continue to work on being careful and
caring about quality.
  We are currently working on our second writing unit, a second personal
narrative.  We also just did the district writing which is also a personal
narrative.  These are all scored from the same rubric with the same categories
and requirements.  I have gone over scores for the three we have published
with each of the students.  These completed, scored writings are in their
writing portfolios which are in the classroom.  We compile these and compare
each new one to our collection as we add to it.  Though overall scores may not
drastically change with each new writing, the students know they are looking
to move up within categories a step at a time.  We are using stories we read
aloud in class as "models" to study how authors use particular strategies and
effect within writing.  I see much improvement from most of the children already.
  I am impressed with how quickly the kids have been able to build reading
stamina during reader's workshop.  They truly seem to enjoy their independent
reading time, most selecting appropriate text that is 'just right' for their
level.  We are still working on developing our written responses following
reading so that they reflect our thinking.  Most have a grasp on this and can
show that they are using the strategies we discuss in workshop.
  Each year at this time, the 3rd grade helps to collect non-perishable food
for the Goodfellows organization.  This is a wonderful charitable project for
the children to manage.  This begins on December 1 and runs through December
15.  All three classes will participate in organizing the food collected from
all Oxbow classrooms, graphing amounts collected and perhaps helping to load
with the volunteers when they pick up.  Ask your student how this is going
throughout the next couple of weeks. 
  Please remember to send your child with warm outdoor clothing that includes
snow pants, boots, hat and gloves.  As we all know, the weather changes
quickly in Michigan and we have been caught a few times with a few lunchtime
surprises.  Also, gloves that are not made of knit material or fabric are best
to keep skin dry.  
  Mrs. Teskey