Mrs. Roda's Third Grade

Join us to read about our learning!

April 27, 2015

Jump Rope for Heart a Huge Success!

Our annual Jump Rope for Heart event was a lot of fun. We had terrific weather - sunshine and high 50's felt great after the cold we've been experiencing. Our class champion, Emma Comeau, did a great job, as did all of our Morrish kids and volunteers. I was very proud of the good sportsmanship our class showed. They cheered for Emma (and other jumpers) and offered her a congratulatory hug afterward. Kindness counts!
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Our Special Classroom Guest

I'm sure by now you've heard of our guest...Sydney the Snake. Sydney is a 7 year old ball python that belongs to my niece. She has made a visit to our classroom every year for several years now and is always a wonderful addition to our learning. She is very gentle and used to being with people. I made it clear to the kids that anyone who was uncomfortable being near Sydney or touching her could stand back and watch from a distance...but everyone wanted to hold her!

We will be starting our research unit in writing, combined with our animal classification unit in life science next week. What better way to learn about the life structures and behaviors of a reptile than to observe one in person?

Look for a picture of your snake-handler to come home in the near future! ;)

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SS Disease Strikes!

SS (Spring Slacker) disease has started to spread through our room. We've seen an increase in missing homework, late assignments and less than quality work lately. :( It's typical when we get to this point in the year that kids get restless and start thinking more about hurrying up to be done than to do their best work. Please encourage your child to keep expectations high. We have 32 more school days and will be learning right up to the end!

MStep Testing

Third grade will take the MStep (formerly the MEAP) test beginning May 19th. You may have heard that this test is grueling. While I have not seen the third grade test, the 5th grade test was quite challenging. However, our kids can handle it!

Please reinforce what I will be explaining to my students: This is ONE test and does not tell everything about them. Each of my students is smart, kind, resourceful, creative, and fun! The MStep can only measure a small amount of what makes these kids great. All I ask is that they do their best thinking and try. Don't stress about it! I'm proud of them no matter what!

Let It Go (Testing Parody)

Henry Ford/Greenfield Village Field Trip

Friday, June 5th, 9am-5:30pm

20900 Oakwood, Dearborn, MI 48124

Dearborn, MI

Field trip permission slips and money are due Wednesday, May 13th. Please make sure your child has everything turned in by that date so that we can get an accurate count and purchase the tickets. And keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

April 2, 2015

Spring Break is Finally Here!

I'm sure we are all looking forward to spring break -- mostly because it's SUPPOSED to herald the arrival of nicer weather and an end to this endless winter. Hmmmmm...still waiting! I hope all of you enjoy the time with your children and families and I'm looking forward to coming back on the 13th with recharged batteries (and sunshine!).


If you missed the deadline for ordering a yearbook, it's not too late! You can still purchase one through the office (online ordering has closed) for $12. Stop in or call the office at 591-3730.
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Spring Field Trip

Our annual third grade field trip to Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village will take place on Friday, June 5th this year. We will have one bus that will leave PROMPTLY at 9:00 a.m. We usually get back to Morrish between 5:30 and 6:00, depending on traffic and how many orange barrels we encounter!

All parents (and grandparents!) are invited to join us. The cost for chaperones will be $20, which includes tickets to both parks and an unlimited ride pass. Our PTO is generously sponsoring most of our students' tickets, so their price will be only $5.

Information will be coming home after break, but in case you wanted to apply for a day off to join us, I wanted to make sure we got the word out!

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Sydney the Snake

We will be hosting a visitor after spring break: Sydney! She is a ball python and will be staying in our classroom for 2-3 weeks to help us with our animal classification unit of life science. We will be studying the different body structures animals have and how these structures help them adapt to and survive in their environments. Any student who WANTS to will be able to hold Sydney and get a picture to keep. (Anyone who is uncomfortable with snakes can stay away -- but she is very friendly!)

From Mrs. Corbat...

Mrs. Corbat forwarded the following e-mail and asked us to share the information with our students and parents. (Feels like I'm begging, but I'm really not! You can nominate ANYONE - teacher, principal, aide - whoever you feel has made a real impact on your child's learning.)

From: Jessica Rogers <>
Date: April 2, 2015 at 1:07:34 PM EDT
To: Undisclosed recipients:;
Subject: FOX66 Golden Apple Awards: Nominate a teacher today!

Good afternoon!

Believe it or not, it’s already time for another round of Golden Apple Awards nominations!

All nominations are done online - it’s so fast and easy! The best part is that ANYONE can nominate someone! Staff, students, parents, anyone! To nominate a teacher, simply go to

The Golden Apple Award recognizes hard working teachers that go above and beyond their job!

The winning teacher, announced during “FOX66 News at 10” in June, will receive a FOX66 Golden Apple Award and be recognized for their tremendous work on FOX66 throughout the month!

All nominations MUST be complete and turned in by Thursday, April 30th at 5:30pm.

Again, nominating a teacher is so fast and easy! Just go to

Thank you, and spread the word to all your employees and students! We’d love to see a submission from your school!

Feel free to contact me for anything!

March 2, 2015

Pajama Read-a-Thon

This Friday, March 6th, we will be holding a Read-a-Thon to benefit the American Cancer Society through our Relay for Life Team Morrish. Students are asked to collect pledges for pages read (or flat rate donations) and turn them in on the paper that was sent home no later than March 10th. This Friday, students will snuggle in and read as many pages as they can during the read-a-thon. Please encourage your child to help us raise money for this wonderful cause!

Morrish Students of the Month

Every month each class gets to nominate a student who exemplifies the qualities highlighted that month (like responsibility, kindness, determination, etc.). Here is the link to this month's video.
February Students of the Month

Marking Period Reading Goals

The third marking period is already coming to an end ... only 4 more weeks! This term we have been studying the genres of traditional literature (like folk tales, fables, and myths), biographies, and realistic fiction. Students are required to read and record 10 books in these genres, as well as a "your choice" category every marking period. They are also required to write a quality summary of ONE book from each genre. Several students have already completed this goal. Please encourage your child to follow their action plan and check in frequently to see how they are doing.
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Friday, March 13th, 10-11am

Room 148

As part of our March is Reading Month celebration, we are inviting our grandparents or grandfriends to come into our classroom! Students will be sharing a favorite book with their grandparent/friend and interviewing him/her to create a book for our school. There will be refreshments and a photo booth! Please spread the word to the grandparents in YOUR life! RSVPs are helpful, but not necessary...all are welcome!

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Adding and Subtracting Strategies

Unit 4, as I'm sure you've noticed, is about learning and practicing strategies for adding and subtracting 2-3 digit numbers. We've been focusing on adding the first 10 lessons, including rounding or estimating (when we don't need an exact total OR as a way to see if our answers are reasonable), addition equations and word problems.

The next lessons involve subtracting and regrouping (what used to be called "borrowing" in my day!) This can be a tricky skill for some third graders. Please encourage your child to use lots of math talk -- to explain EXACTLY what they are doing and why.

You can click on the ShowMe link below to watch some videos explaining subtraction strategies.

Apologies from a Technology Immigrant

I often tell people that I am a tech immigrant -- still learning the language and culture. I've been waiting for an answer from the Smore tech support people as to why pictures I import into this newsletter from my iPad come in upside down. Apparently, they are a stumped as I am. I decided to quit waiting and just send it out as is. Hopefully by the next issue you won't have to stand on your head!

February 2, 2015


Well, I think I jinxed us last week. I was telling someone that this winter has been pretty calm - nothing like last year. That'll teach me to run my mouth! I hope you didn't have too much trouble dealing with the blowing and drifting snow...maybe even got to hunker down inside and enjoy a day off with the kids!
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Valentine's Party

Our valentine party will be Friday, February 13th at 2:15. A note went home Friday. I will be sending home a letter asking for help with supplies to those parents who indicated they would be willing to donate. I planned to send it home today, so I'll try to make sure it goes out tomorrow. We will be playing games and enjoying a treat. If you get a letter from your child asking for a donation of supplies and you are not able to do so at this time, please just let me know so that I can make other arrangements.

Parents are invited to attend our celebration if available. We'd love to see you if you can make it!

Daily 5 - Our Work as Readers, Writers and Spellers

Daily 5 is our favorite time of the day. It is our literacy block during which we learn strategies for reading, writing, and understanding words with LOTS of opportunity for independent and group practice. Students participate in a focus lesson before working on Read to Self for about 30 minutes. During this time they read good-fit books silently and practice the reading skills they are learning. This is also the time when I hold individual conferences with students and pull small strategy groups for additional instruction.

A second focus lesson is the start of our second round of Daily 5, during which students choose from a "menu" of options including Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work and Work on Writing.

MATH: Unit 4 - Addition and Subtraction

We are moving into addition, subtraction, and place value in our next unit. Students will practice building numbers, deepening our understanding of how numbers are constructed in ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. They will be rounding to the nearest 10 and 100 and learning strategies to quickly and accurately add and subtract 2-, 3-, and 4-digit numbers. As always, we will be using these strategies to find solutions to real-world problems.

Please continue to encourage your child to CAREFULLY read word problems and break them down into steps - circle the information they need, underline clue words ("how many more" or "difference" or "altogether"), and determine what operation will work.

As we move into this new unit, I will be continuing to work with students on elapsed time problems and reading/writing time. We will also continue building fluency and accuracy in multiplication and division basic facts. Many students are meeting this standard, but some are falling behind. Please help your child study/practice math facts at home to build fluency, as all future math objectives build on these.

Rounding Rap

Mrs. Roda

The best way to reach me is through e-mail at Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns!

January 12, 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you had a terrific Christmas vacation and enjoyed time with your kids, other family, and friends. We have just a couple weeks left of the second marking period and have jumped right back to it this week!

Marking Period Reading Goals

This marking period our genre study has included fantasy (like Magic Tree House and Flat Stanley), historical fiction (like the "I Survived" series and American Girl books), poetry, and (as always) choice. Students are required to read 8 books and 20 short poems as well as write a summary of each type of genre. Most are finished with this goal; some are still trying to catch up from either having not read a particular genre or forgetting to record books read.

Students are also required to take and score 80% or higher on five AR tests. They have multiple opportunities during the day to take AR tests and may take tests in our classroom on a computer or iPad or in the library or computer lab.

Please encourage your child to monitor his/her own progress toward these goals to be sure they achieve their goal.

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Math - Measurement Unit (Telling Time and Determining Elapsed Time)

I'm sure you've noticed that reading an analog clock and figuring out elapsed time (both with clocks and in word problems) has been a real challenge for our third graders. In this digital world, this is a skill that doesn't get a lot of real-world practice. We have been learning a few different ways to calculate elapsed time:

  • Use a clock face and count around the clock (remembering that every time I jump to the next number, I have jumped 5 minutes).
  • Use a number line and jump forward in whatever intervals are comfortable (by 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes or full hours).
  • Use addition or subtraction and my knowledge that 60 minutes = 1 hour (for example the elapsed time from 8:15 to 9:32 is 1 hour 17 minutes because 9 - 8 = 1 hour and 32 - 15 = 17 minutes).

Click below for a link to short instruction videos on LearnZillion that will walk you and your child through solving some of these kinds of problems. There are 5 different lessons on YouTube.

Solving elapsed time word problems—Lesson 1 of 5 (Common Core Standard 3.MD.1)

New Writing Genre: Personal Essay

This week we began our immersion in personal essay writing. Immersion is when we surround ourselves with writing from experts (published authors and high quality student writers) and explore the characteristics and qualities that this kind of writing includes. So far, we've noticed that essays:

  • Use "I" or "We"
  • Include stories from real life
  • Involve strong feelings
  • Try to teach something (usually a lesson learned)
  • Sometimes use repeated lines for emphasis

I am really impressed by the insight of my third graders. We have had some wonderful conversations and they have already begun practicing writing in this format. I am looking forward to reading some excellent personal essays in the near future!

Michigan Economics

We began our social studies unit on economics as it pertains to Michigan this week. We started out learning about what an entrepreneur is by reading a short article about Henry Ford. We also learned about the three different kinds of resources (natural, capital, and human) that people use to produce goods and services. On Friday, we played a review game based on the game Headbanz. Students wore a card with a vocabulary word on it and walked round getting clues from classmates until they could figure out what it was. For example, if the term was "capital resources" clues included "examples of this are tools and factories" and "stuff people make to help them make other stuff." The kids had fun and gained a better understanding of these important terms at the same time!

December 8, 2014

WANTED: E-Mail Addresses

If you have not yet given me your e-mail address, please consider sending me an e-mail so that I can add you to my group. This is a quick way for me to communicate with parents (both individually and with this Smore newsletter).

In addition, if you didn't enroll in Remind, you may want to do so. This is an app that allows me to send quick reminders about upcoming due dates or activities. (I promise not to overdo it!)

You can enroll in Remind by following the directions below.

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We're Halfway There!

This past Friday marked the halfway point of the second marking period. Progress reports are going home tomorrow. Most students are making great progress toward reading goals (genre study, 5 AR tests, and summaries). I am working with several students on building more stamina and monitoring progress toward goals. It is very important that students develop the good work habit of setting and working toward goals independently.

If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tree Trim Party

We had our annual Tree Trim Party on Friday, December 5th. Students created two ornaments/decorations and decorated and ate a sugar cookie! We decorated our classroom tree with the ornaments and then students will be bringing them home before break.

Movie Field Trip

In lieu of a Christmas party, third grade will be taking our annual movie field trip on Thursday, December 18th. We will be going to Trillium Theater to see Big Hero Six or the Penguins of Madagascar. Parents are invited to meet us at the theater and enjoy the movie (and, of course, popcorn & drinks!) with us.

IMPORTANT: Permission slips are due THIS Friday (12/5/14). If parents/grandparents are planning to meet us at the theater, please indicate that on the permission slip and make sure you have a volunteer form on file with the office.

Project Linus

We are participating in Project Linus again this year. This project collects quilts to be donated to shelters. The quilts are then given to women and children to offer comfort at a difficult time. Students each decorate a quilt square for a classroom quilt. We are lucky to have a wonderful quilter (Mrs. Horst's mom) who volunteers every year to sew all the squares together into a wonderful quilt that we can donate in the spring.

If you would like to donate to this project (to offset the cost of supplies) or donate fabric markers, quilt batting, fabric or thread, please send your donation in with your child before the holiday break.

You can read more about this project by clicking the link below.