The StoryStar Times

September 2014

A Classroom Community of Friends

Building a Community

We are building a strong, respectful, and caring classroom community through morning meeting, bucket fillers, and with the development of our very own classroom mission statement. We enjoyed sharing powerful pictures books about learning, listening, respect, and friendship as a class. Each story teaches an important lesson and connects our class as a community of friends. We read and celebrated Recess Queen, A Rainbow of Friends, and Officer Buckle and Gloria.

Reading

In the past few weeks, we have been laying the foundation for third graders to grow as readers. The children learned the expectations for developing their independent reading habits at school and at home. We read our poem of the week, The Reader's Oath, reviewed the "Rules for Reading Right", and learned how to record our reading each night in their homework records.

We also learned all about “real reading” and how to actively think about what we read. The children were introduced to the idea of metacognition (thinking about our reading thinking). We used thinking stems to write about what we read. We also created a “reading salad” as a model for reading thinking as a delicious mix of text and thinking. We made a real salad to celebrate the deliciousness of reading thinking too! The children have listened to many powerful picture books including Enemy Pie, Thank You, Mr. Falker, and Don’t Laugh at Me to spark their creative and deep reading thinking. All of these activities are laying the foundation for the development of deep, insightful third grade readers and thinkers!

Math

We are already in the middle of Unit 1, which is a review of previously learned concepts. Unit 1 concentrates on number sequences, number grids, finding differences, and introducing the children to third grade math tools. We will also focus a bit on money and time, both of which will be explored in greater depth later in the year.

We have established mathematical partnerships and we have played Number Grid Differences, Less than You, Roll to 100 and Beat the Calculator with our math partners. The math games are a fabulous way for children to practice important math skills in a fun and meaningful way.

Writing

The children have been introduced to good writing habits as we build our classroom writing community. With the use of one of my favorite read alouds for teaching writing, The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli the children learned that the best stories come from the heart, hence the heart maps! Thank you for helping the students brainstorm the best stories for their heart maps. We are taking those topics, creating heart maps, and planting them in our writer’s notebooks. Throughout the year, some of these topics will be published into “the best stories”.

Next, week we will learn to write sophisticated sentences, using specific details and style to s-t-r-e-t-c-h our sentences. Remembering to use capital letters and punctuation correctly will be an emphasized skill all year long!

Social Studies

We just launched out first social studies unit, Geography. We will be learning the 7 continents, 4 oceans, how to read a map, and some important vocabulary terms. At home, please have your child practice writing their address! They need to know just how to write it on an envelope. In computer lab, the children created a chart in a Word document to reflect the responses to "Where I Live". They listed their addresses, county, state, and country on a chart. My techie little friends added clip art and color to their charts. They have a copy of it in their binders. Be sure to look for it. They're very proud of their new skills!

Quiz-Me Questions

The following is a list of questions or statements you can use to engage your child in conversation about their academic activities:

· What does metacognition mean?

· Can you use coins to draw $0.89 in 2 different ways?

· Try to name the 7 continents and the 4 oceans.

· Tell me about your class mascot.

· Let's practice writing our address on a piece of paper.

Thank you for reading The StoryStar Times!

Be sure to see the slide show of my September StoryStars on my web site.