Friday, October 30, 2015

Circle Letter 10/30/2015

October 30, 2015      

Dear Families,
A Happy Halloween wish to all of you.  Tonight certainly sounds trick-or-treat-fun-filled… lots of good times and delicious candy too. Don’t forget the Portsmouth Parade tomorrow night as well…!  The kids will have a lot to write about after their trick or treating experiences, no doubt! 
        The Grade 3 fall festival was a good time and certainly a nice break from all of the classroom work. We rotated through a variety of activities… Get the scoop from your kiddo!. And of course a big thank you to the families who were able to provide contributions for this grade level activity… and to those moms who were able to come in and volunteer.  We appreciate all the support.
       Our class took Unit 2 math assessment on Wednesday and on Thursday students made corrections as needed while reflecting on their skills.  This test will be placed into student portfolios and come home with the report card in early December.
       We have begun our studies of the Human Body, and the Digestive System specifically.  It has been an interesting few days with observation and inquiry… as we study the parts of the mouth and discuss how the parts interact and function.  Be sure to ask your kiddo about how these parts, including your nose, work together.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Circle Letter 10/23/15

Dear Families,
         Greetings! We now call our three ring binders (brought in on the start of school) the Portfolio.  It is a place to showcase a variety of work samples from all of our units of studies.  We have begun putting work into our portfolios for we have “wrapped up” our Earth and Geography studies and are moving on to the study of the Human Body. 
         As we introduce this investigative unit we start with thinking about systems in general and the individual parts that interact together to help the system function for a specific purpose. We had fun looking at a variety of “systems” … (mostly from my kitchen drawers…!) to demonstrate this point.  Be sure to inquire further with your student.
         We are at an exciting place with our personal narrative “small moment’ writing. The class is mostly done with one draft, having gone through many steps of the writing process.  We will now put that draft to the side and begin an entirely new narrative using all the many things we learned along the way.  It might be helpful to have your child practice their “story telling” with you.  You could help them with when to add flare and emotion at just the right moments.

         Our first round of conferences began this week and it has been a pleasure to sit and connect with many of you about your child.  Although it makes for a long workday, I find it so meaningful and enjoyable to talk together. Next Tuesday we will resume conferencing.  And please note, next Friday, October 30th, we are having our grade level Fall Festival. Thank you in advance for supporting this event by volunteering or contributing an item or two on sign-up genius.  The event will be from 8:30 – 10:30. IT promises to be a nice break from the regular routine of things! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Circle Letter 10/16/15

October 16, 2015
               Dear Families,
Wow… two 4-day weeks back to back make the school days all the more busy trying squeeze it all in!  And, we also dropped everything Wednesday morning as we were treated to a fabulous school assembly called  Food Play… great performing and music as well as important information about the foods we eat.  Be sure to get the scoop from your child, if you haven’t already…!
              Last week we finished our first read aloud book, Poppy.  The conclusion was loaded with action and wrapped up the lingering conflicts well.  (Again, get the scoop from your kiddo…)  Read aloud offers great opportunity for whole class book discussions, predictions, wonderings, questioning ideas and character motives… all great skills that can be transferred directly to students’ own reading and books.  This week we began our “Character Unit” studies.  Our focus will be stepping into the “shoes” of the main characters to better understand their motives and thinking.  Our new read aloud, Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl, will lend a hand with this work as well.  And a big round of applause goes to our writers this week… students continue to work on their personal narratives  many are finishing up first draft as others are beginning to revise and elaborate upon “the heart of the story.”  Good work… hard work too!

       Lastly, as most of you know, our fall parent/teacher conferences are coming up. Thank you for signing up on-line. We only have about 15 minutes to conference so please come prepared with your questions, observations and curiosity….!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Circle Letter 10/2/15

October 2, 2015

Dear Families,
              It has been a wonderful beginning to October and a fast week for us here at school.  Thursday was a busy day with Picture Day in the morning and a visit from The Cromwell Center late morning to lead a discussion and get us thinking about people with disabilities.  Today should be fun as students begin phase 1… the paper mache part, of our Earth globes.   Thanks to the parent volunteers who came in to help….  Projects like these are much more fun with many hands helping out!  Next week we will do phase 2… placement of continents and labeling. 
       In Math students have just taken the end of unit 1 assessment.  Today students will spend the class pondering an Open Response question before we move on to Unit 2.  Typically I hold on to the math assessments until the end of the trimester.  They will go into each student’s portfolio (3 ringed binder) and come home with the report card.  If you are curious and want to see an assessment before that, just let me know and it can travel home in the red folder.
       We continue to build and talk about good life long reading habits during our Reading Workshop time.   Lots of thought into choosing books that interest us as readers, how to picture the story like a movie in our minds, and the importance of reading wide awake and alert.  Our read aloud, Poppy, continues to offer great opportunity to talk and share our thinking about the plot, character motives, problems and possible solutions.  The book talks continue to be lively and interesting. 

                     Lastly, next week is Fire Prevention Week.  Our class will walk down to the fire station on Tuesday afternoon for review of fire safety and to check out those awesome fire trucks!  Hats off to our volunteer firemen!