Brrr.  I hope you all are finding ways to enjoy the extremely cold weather
and extra time at home.  We are moving along in third grade, making progress
in many areas.
   We have compared our scores from the second personal narrative writings to
the first ones and set new writing goals.  Every student noticed good progress
and also found an area that they needed to concentrate on for their next
writing unit.  The data notebook proves to be a great reflection piece for the
student to keep their own scores and progress as well as monitoring their own
goals.  We have spent a great deal of time examining "big ideas" in essays. 
Each student has now selected a big idea of their own and has written an
opinion statement.  They are in the process of developing two examples from
their own lives that support the opinion statement or "prove" what they've
stated.  This is so very different than personal narratives that they've
always been asked to write, but they are doing a great job.  They also love to
share these along the way and get the opinion of classmates on how they are
   We have worked on extended multiplication facts by multiples of 10 and are
almost ready to test on perimeter and area in math.  We've been deconstructing
polygons and finding two shapes, then adding the areas together.  Most find
this "fun" which is great and they are really good at it as well.
   Several are almost to the 10's in their multiplication fact tests.  That's
fantastic.  Others are are a bit behind.  At this point in the year, they
should be at the 5's or 6's in multiplication fluency.  There is no other way
to gain this than at-home practice on a very regular basis.  Computer games,
flash cards, in the car...practice, practice, practice - knowing these facts
will help them with all math that is introduced beyond.
   Though I continually monitor the reading levels of the children, I am in
the process of formally testing again.  As with the multiplication practice,
those that read at home, turn in reading logs on a regular basis and talk
about the books they read at home tend to show much more significant progress
in both comprehension and fluency.  It is not too late to begin if this hasn't
been in your daily routine.  It will still help to move your child along and
boost their level as well.  It would be great to establish this routine prior
to summer and keep it going so they do not lose what they've gained this
school year.
   I was SO impressed with the last social studies test! The students showed
that they are interested in our early Michigan people and that they also can
take responsibility and study a bit.  The class average was 86%.  Way to go! 
Let's keep up this stamina in science and social studies now for the rest of
the year. 
  Speaking of science, we are all excited for the upcoming field trip.  Be
sure to return your child's permission slip and money by March 9.  We have a
second wonderful science experience that is coming to us in May from the
Lansing Impressions 5 Science Center.  They will provide 3 workshops on 3rd
grade core concepts.  We are excited to share more about that in the near future.
  Please double check the calendar and note the dates that 3rd graders will be
tested on the M-Step standardized test this spring.  It is imperative that all
students be in school on these days if at all possible.  
  Remember to send warm, warm, outdoor clothing for kids.  Many do not have
snow pants, hats, gloves, etc. when we do have outdoor recess.  Hopefully, we
will have an opportunity to get outside more frequently soon and they will
need those items for sure!  Thank you.