News from Room 405

3rd Grade with Mrs. Raddatz

General Annoucements

We are working on a project where we need cereal boxes. Please send in any cereal boxes this week for us to use. Thanks!

A book order will come home shortly. While I know we just had the book fair, I would like to get in an order before the holidays. Allowing for a week for delivery (plus a few days extra just to be safe), it will come home soon. If you would like to order anything as a gift, please let me know and I will hold it instead of giving it to your child.

It's the season of giving. This week we are collecting for Lighthouse. Our grade level is responsible for bringing in muffin mixes, quick bread mixes, and/or cornbread mixes. The students can bring these to the classroom or drop them off in the bins by Dolphin Hall.

Today or tomorrow, students will also bring a permission slip for our annual Adopt a Family program here in Clarkston. If you would like your child to pick a tag, please send in the permission slip. The students will choose tags on November 23rd.

Reading and Writing

We have wrapped up our Character Study unit in reading and our Personal Narrative (True Story) unit in writing. Both of these topics will come up again later in the year and the skills will be used often.

We are starting a unit on informational (nonfiction) reading and writing. The students are studying informational texts and noticing all of the text features and structures that are not in fictional writings. We will be studying many of these closely during the unit.

In writing, students are thinking about the topics that they know a lot about. You might want to help them think about topics they know a lot about such as hobbies, places, sports, skills, etc. in order to help support his or her brainstorming. At this point in the year, they will not be doing research but rather reporting facts already known.

Math- Addition and Subtraction

We have finished our unit on addition and subtraction with large numbers. This is a skill which needs constant practice so it is not lost.

It's hard to believe how different mathematics instruction looks today. It's truly a blessing that instructional practices have change over the years. When I learned how to add and subtract, my teachers only emphasized procedural understanding through the standard algorithm strategy. This is the strategy we all learned to add and subtract which in many cases was the only way our teachers delivered this concept. Standard algorithm begins with adding/subtracting the ones place value column and then if required regrouping/borrowing to the tens place value column and so on and so on. This method follows a simple pattern and requires understanding of basic addition and subtraction facts. I did this successfully as a 3rd grader but I can honestly say that I didn't truly understand the concept of adding and subtracting. I truly understood the pattern of the procedure of adding and subtracting.

Over the years, really smart mathematician researchers became alarmed by this trend of only focusing on mathematical procedural understanding and began to examine better instructional practices. Thankfully today our instructional practices focus on providing our math thinkers a solid conceptual understanding of mathematics. Our instructional delivery methods changed to focusing on strategies that require students to demonstrate and explain mathematical thinking flexibly through a variety of strategies: documenting adding/subtracting by creating open number lines, showing addition/subtraction moves with base 10 manipulatives, and decomposing numbers into partials through expanded form of each place value.

Brain research has demonstrated that when our students process math in these various ways they develop a strong number sense where they can communicate number relationships and see similarities between foundational concepts like fact families (addition/subtraction relationships and multiplication/division relationships) that they will continue to need in future math learning.

With all of this being said, I understand that it is confusing to know how to "help" your child with math when many of us only understand standard algorithm. This is one of the reasons why little evidence of math has been coming home. Teaching your child standard algorithm at this time of the year only confuses them in the process of developing a conceptual understanding. Our 3rd graders are not expected to master standard algorithm but only be introduced to this concept. However when I see that students are ready to move on to this strategy, I will work with them to link the conceptual strategies state above to the standard process.

Here are some videos that might help show some of the strategies we use in the classroom:

Number line adding video:

Number line subtracting video:

Base 10 addition video:

Base 10 subtraction video:

The YouTube channel for this teacher's other videos:

Math - Multiplication

Our next unit in math is multiplication. Again, we will study conceptual ideas of multiplication before we memorize a procedure for solving any problem.

I am involved in a study of two programs for mathematics instruction. You will see evidence of both of these programs coming home. The first one we will use is Bridges.

We will study and think about items coming in groups and this understanding is what will lead our first pictures for multiplication. 2 x 5 would be read "two groups of five" and would have a picture that goes along with two groups of 5 items.

We will then build our understanding so students can explain how and why 2 x 8 can help us understand 4 x 8. We will think about strategies and real life uses for multiplication.