3rd Grade News!

November 2014

A New Look!

As you can see, we are using a new format for our newsletters these days. You will see some things have been added and some things are missing. In an effort to make our newsletter more academically driven, we will be focusing mostly on the unit we are currently studying and ways in which you can help your child. Given that we do not move through units weekly, we will now only provide a monthly newsletter that will come out the first Friday of each month.

We will continue to include upcoming events and test dates; however, please check your child's eclass page and agenda books for the most up to date calendar. (Dates sometimes change)

Hopefully you will find this to be a positive and helpful change as you work with your child at home.

Social Studies Update!

Currently we are studying our American Heroes. The classes are learning these heroes on rotation due to sharing of supplies. You can find the order in which your child is learning each Hero below:

Mrs. Donat:

Susan B. Anthony

Fredrick Douglass

Mary McCleod Bethune

Mrs. Lee:

Fredrick Douglass

Mary McCleod Bethune

Susan B. Anthony

Mrs. Packard/Mrs. Thomason:

Mary McCleod Bethune

Susan B. Anthony

Fredrick Douglass

Mrs. Wieseman:

Susan B. Anthony

Fredrick Douglass

Mary McCleod Bethune

Please work with your child at home to reread these books on eclass. This has a great feature that will actually read the book to your child! Have conversations with your child about what Hero they are studying and what impact that hero had on our country. Ask them to describe character traits that the heroes exhibited. Provide a chance for your child to research this hero further by looking them up on the internet or checking out books from the public library. Remember even though it may not be the exact week that they are studying that person, you can help them to preview and review the heroes before we have a summative test over all heroes at the end of the unit.

*This test is tentatively scheduled for the week of December 8th.

Investigating Science

Throughout the Rocks, Minerals and Soil unit, students will compare and contrast rocks and minerals. They will determine the physical attributes of rocks and minerals using observations (shape, color, and texture), measurements, and simple tests (hardness) Students will compare and contrast the texture, particle size and color in top soils (clay, loam, potting soil, sand) using observational skills. They will classify rocks according to the manner in which they formed (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic). Lastly, students will determine how wind can change rocks and soil over time using observation and research.

We have loaded several links on eclass to help review rocks, minerals, and soil. Have your kids talk to you about the rocks they have studied. Go on a rock hunt and find rocks for your child to identify based on the properties of the rocks. Please look for a letter to come home that explains each unit and how the students can work through their lab books at home for further practice.

*The test for Rocks and Minerals will be after Thanksgiving break.

Math Corner

Currently we are studying the properties of multiplication. Ask your child to describe in their own words what each property is.

Commutative Property of Mulitiplication

You can reverse the order of the factors and still get the same product.

3x2=6 is the same as 2x3=6 Also written as 3x2=2x3

Associative Property of Mulitiplication

It does not matter which order in which you multiply the factors, you will still get the same product.

(2x4)x9=72 is the same as 2x(4x9)= 72 Also written as (2x4)x9=2x(4x9)

Distributive Property of Multiplication

You can break the numbers apart to make easier multiplication sentences then add them together to find the product.

5x9 is the same as 5x(5+4); Therefore you can do (5x4)+(5x5)

We will be testing on this unit on Friday, November 21st. We will be sending home a packet of review papers to go over with your child if you wish for extra help.

Reading Rocks

This quarter in reading we are working on using the conventions of non-fiction texts to understand information in books. Throughout our integrated reading and social studies American Hero units, students have been learning these conventions that include tables, charts, graphs, documents, captions, close-ups, headings, sub-headings, table of contents, glossary, index, types of print, labels, and diagrams. Students know that these conventions are part of the text and not parts that should be skipped when reading. Some suggestions to practice these conventions at home to help your child understand non-fiction information are to expose your child to non-fiction texts by checking out some at the library. Students love to read non-fiction animal books, and one topic that has really interested this group is the Titanic. Try finding some non-fiction texts on our science and social studies unit of studies. Allow your child to use post-it notes to label these parts of the non-fiction text (remember not to write in the book, but post-it notes can easily come out). If you find a graph or chart in a text, have your child explain to you or write a paragraph about the information and conclusions that they can make about the graph. Use the index and glossary to preview vocabulary before reading the text to activate prior knowledge.

We are also learning that authors can write in two different points of view. One point of view is first person in which a character is telling the story. Third person point of view is when a narrator is telling a story. We can use pronouns to identify the point of view as we read. First person pronouns include: I, me, my, mine, our, us, we. Third person pronouns include he, she, it, them, they, their, his, her, him. Have students read an excerpt from their independently chosen text aloud. Have them tell you the point of view the author chose to write in and examples from the text to prove the point of view.

Another topic of study in reading this quarter is using and understanding homographs (multiple meaning words). Many times students are able to decode the words in their independent and guided texts, but do not understand what they have read. One reason is often that they are not applying the correct meaning of the word to the context of the sentence and become confused. Many words have more than one meaning. Example: bat- the nocturnal mammal that flies. bat- the wooden or metal object used to hit a ball. Students must think about what they are reading and then apply the correct meaning of the word to the sentence based on context clues that surround the word. Some ways to help at home: Have students look at a dictionary entry that has more than one definition. Have them read the definitions and then try to say or write a sentence using the word correctly in its different meanings. Have students draw multiple meaning word pictures on paper, cut them apart, and play a memory game with them trying to make matches.

Writing for Success

Our next writing unit is on Informational writing. This is exactly what it sounds like, writing to give the reader information. We’ll begin this unit by writing about things that the kids know a lot about, i.e. sports, pets, hobbies, etc. Once we’ve mastered the goal of informational writing we’ll begin to add to their knowledge of certain subjects by working towards Informational Research based writing. So, how can you help your child? Have them practice writing about their day or what they're learning in class. They can write about the American hero they’ve just studied or even explain how to find the area of a specific math problem. Be sure to have them include proper grammar and properly formed paragraphs. Paragraphs must include a topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence. This can be very challenging for third graders and practice is the best way to improve as a writer!


We have worked very hard these nine weeks on several grammar skills. We’ve covered regular and irregular plural nouns and are in the process of working on subject and verb agreement as well as pronoun antecedent agreement.

We discussed how if you can add an “s” to a noun to make it plural then it’s a regular plural noun. If you have to change the spelling in order to make it plural then it’s an irregular plural noun. Here’s a list of the spelling rules that they have created (in chart form) and added to their grammar folders.

If noun ends in Ch, sh, x, o, or ss, add es - box becomes boxes

If a noun ends in f or fe, change the f or fe to v and add es - shelf becomes shelves

If a noun ends in a consonant and y, change the y to i and add es - baby becomes babies

If a noun ends in a vowel and y, just add s - monkey becomes monkeys

A fun way to practice these skills is by asking them to randomly tell you and then spell the plural forms of words. Remind them that there are those plural forms that are completely different and your just have to learn, ie, geese, mice, men, people, sheep. You can also check out the fun games at Spelling City by following the link below:


As far as pronoun/antecedent agreement and subject/verb agreement go, we’re discussing how they go hand in hand. If a subject is plural then the verb must also be plural. My students laugh all day long! The subject “students” is plural and needs to agree with a plural verb, “laugh”. Pronoun and antecedent agreement works the same way but they must also agree in gender. John had lots of homework to do so he was not able to come over and play. John is one boy so the pronoun he must be singular and male.

Brain pop has some really great video clips on both of these topics and the activities that follow are a great way to practice.


Below is one more great site to practice these skills and many others. Enjoy!


Expect a summative writing test focusing on these grammar skills during the week of December 8!

Important Information:

Nov. 24-28-Thanksgiving Break