Ruckman Racer Update

September 19, 2014

On Tap: Training for Students

Our students will experience two important training sessions next week. On Wednesday, Mrs. Largent will be providing updated information to students about what we would do if the school needed to be evacuated. Although this is not a new topic, the entire district has worked with the local police and fire departments to determine the best way to keep our children safe in case of a major disaster or attack. Sadly, as more situations have occurred across the U.S., we have learned from them and revised our strategies for coping accordingly. The acronym ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) guides the approach the district has adopted, and children will learn about this at their training.

On Thursday, Mrs. Cox will visit to present to students the facts about what bullying is and is not. She will work with them on what to do if they are being a bully, if they are bullied, or if they are a bystander during a bullying situation.

Please ask your child to tell you about these sessions! If they can repeat the content to you later in the day, we will know that we have made a sound learning connection in these two important areas.

Curriculum Update

I hope your child has shared with you the fact that we are now in the midst of studying about three famous people: Babe Ruth, Annie Oakley, and Jane Goodall. Quite a variety, no? Today, we discussed in-depth the project that each student will create based on the biography he or she is reading. The packet describing the project should be in the Reading section of your child's accordion folder. About 2/3 of the work for the project will be done at school, with the other 1/3 being done at home. All components of the project will be finished/turned in on Tuesday, September 30. We will assemble the pieces into a whole here at school that day. One of the best things you can do for your child at this age is to help your student determine a schedule workable for your family so that the work for the project is done in small pieces. This is a life skill, of course, that all of us use whenever a large project confronts us. There's no time like the present to introduce your third-grader to strategies that will work now and in the future!

In grammar this week, we began working on the four types of sentences. We will continue with that this week and will then introduce parts of a simple sentence: subjects and predicates. Grammar concepts come very easily to some students, but are a stumbling block for others. If you see grammar assignments coming home with many errors, please contact me about how we can work together to support your child.

We started brand new writers' notebooks this week and spent time getting the writing we've already done this year organized. We are continuing to generate ideas for writing personal narratives. Early next week, one assignment your child will bring home is a four-square organizer to record ideas for writing based on their own personal experiences. I like for parents to have the opportunity to remind students of interesting events that have happened in the family that would make excellent stories. It's also an opportunity for some fun reminiscing!

Words Their Way is becoming more of a routine now, as students master the basics of sorts, blind sorts, word hunts, written sorts, and speed sorts. Just a reminder that on Monday and Tuesday, no writing is necessary for the assignments. Wednesday's word hunt and Thursday's written sort are the ones that go into their WTW notebooks. Keep up the good work!

In math this week, the Purple Group finished Unit 2 and will have a unit test on Monday. Students appeared to have a good grasp on the basics as we completed our study guide today. Please take a few minutes to look over it with your student over the weekend to make sure their confidence is both high and well placed. Unit 3 is dedicated to basics of multiplication and division. If your child has not done any work on memorizing multiplication facts, now would be a good time to locate some apps or online programs that practice these. Within the next few weeks, I will be sending home a log for each student to record minutes spent doing drill work. The more they practice, the quicker they will be, and the less homework they will have...hopefully that will motivate them!

Our Orange Group was busy solving a wide variety of word problems this week. We learned three different organizational structures for analyzing a word problem, then setting up the means by which it can be solved. Next week will bring practice with adding and subtracting numbers with regrouping. Our approach will be to teach at least two different algorithms for solving in each operation. Some of the methods will look different from what you remember doing in school, but that's a good thing! You can always have back-up on these by accessing the Everyday Math website and clicking on "Algorithms." All the different methods are there, and a virtual teacher walks you and your student through the steps needed to get the correct answer using that method. See your child's planner (inside of front cover) for log-in and password information.

Speaking of log-ins and passwords, we will be working through Google applications this year when we word-process or develop presentations. I am working on cards to put in students' planners so that you can access the documents they have created and will be available for work at home in case your student is absent or falls behind. We will also call on you in late October/early November to help your child insert pictures into his/her specialty animal slide presentation. More info as that date draws nearer.

Upcoming Events

Wed., Sept. 24: ALICE Training for Students with Mrs. Largent
Thurs., Sept. 25: Anti-Bullying Presentation by Mrs. Cox
Fri., Sept. 26: Colts Spirit Day--Go Blue!
Mon., Sept. 29: Convocation: Visit from Author Julie Olsen
Weeks of Sept. 29 and Oct. 6: PTO Boxtops Competition
Tues., Sept. 30: Desk Blotter Book Project Items Due
Wed., Oct. 8: Walk to School Day
Thurs., Oct. 9: PTO Meeting (3:45 p.m.)
Thurs., Oct. 9-Tues., Oct. 14: Book Fair
Fri., Oct. 10: Third Grade Vision Screening
Fri., Oct. 10: End of First Grading Period
Week of Oct. 13: Parent-Teacher Conferences
Tues., Oct. 14: Moms and Muffins (8:15-8:50 a.m.)
Fri., Oct. 17: Fall Parties (2:00-3:15 p.m.)
Week of Oct. 20: Fall Break--NO SCHOOL