Mrs. Kovarik's Class Newsletter
In the Classroom
Another way I get to know more about the children is through assessments. At the start of the school year, all students take district developed pre-assessments in the areas of reading and math. These assessments help me plan instruction for the upcoming year. They let me know what standards students have mastered already and which ones we still need to work on. Also, in the coming weeks, specialists and myself, will assess each student individually in the area of reading using a reading inventory to find out their current guided reading level. This assessment will address decoding, comprehension, and fluency. Students will be reassessed throughout the year to look at growth. I will be sharing the results of these assessments with you at parent-teacher conferences.
In class we have been very busy. In writing, we have been working on mastering writing lengthier, more descriptive sentences. In third grade students need to regularly add punctuation to the ends of their sentences, use uppercase letters correctly, and write sentences that are complete and make sense. You may have heard your child talk about writing "super sentences." These sentences include adjectives, nouns, and verbs and tell the reader where and when something is happening.
During word work, we have been discussing short and long vowels and applying the knowledge to both spelling and reading. We have also been working on synonyms, antonyms, and multiple-meaning words like bat and bank.
In reading, we are building our "reading lives." Students are practicing good independent reading behaviors like choosing "good-fit" books, choosing a good place to read and staying there, keeping their eyes on the text, actively thinking about what they are reading, and building fluency and stamina. It is very important for children to be reading daily and a lot. The biggest difference between poor and good readers is the amount that they read. We all know the more experience you have doing something, the better you get at it.
In math, we have started the year out working on place value to the thousands place. I really want the children to conceptually understand that each place of a number has it's own value. We are also learning to think about numbers flexibly. 100 tens is the same as 1000 ones is the same as 10 hundreds. Students are learning to write numbers in standard form, expanded form, and in words. They are also ordering and comparing numbers using the math vocabulary. A solid foundation in place value helps children add and subtract larger numbers that involve regrouping. "Math talk" will be central to the curriculum this year. Students will be expected to actively participate by explaining their strategies for problem solving and become active listeners as they learn from their peers and myself.
We are also beginning our year with a social studies unit. Students are discovering their physical place here on Earth and how where we live often influences how we live. Students are expected to learn their own personal information, the continents, hemispheres, where the equator is, the location of Illinois in the U.S., the oceans, the Great Lakes, and the states surrounding Illinois. We will also be working with a variety of maps and learning how to read a map and use both cardinal and intermediate directions.