Classroom Newsletter

January 2017

Time for a Tabata Break!

Students are participating in a daily exercise break between Writers' and Readers' Workshop. We are doing a Tabata, which is a five minute, high intensity interval format. We do 20 seconds of one exercise, such as jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees, or jump rope, followed by a 10 second rest. Then we do a second exercise, such as squat jumps, boxing punches or push ups, followed by another 10 second rest. This continues for 8 cycles with a 1 minute rest of breathing and stretching.

Math Workshop

We are in unit 4 which is a continuation of Multiplication and Division concepts and operations, as well as two step problem solving. Students are learning about the following in this unit:


Properties of Multiplication:

  • Commutative Property: 3 x 5= 15 or 5 x 3 =15 When multiplying two factors, the factors can be "turned around" to solve. This property can NOT be applied to division.
  • Associative Property: ( 3 x 5 ) x 2= 30 or 3 x ( 5 x 2) =30 When multiplying more than two factors, you can solve any two, in any order and it will not effect the product.
  • Distributive Property: 6 x 8 = 48 or ( 3 x 8 ) + (3 x 8 ) = 48 When multiplying factors that more difficult, decompose or break up one factor into "friendly parts" and then solve the problem by adding both parts.


Elapsed Time: Students are taught to use a number line to find elapsed time instead of adding or subtracting. Although this method works at times, it does not always work and so is not reliable as there is only 60 minutes instead of 100.


Math Fact Fluency: At this point of the year, students should be working on the fact families: 2, 5, 10, 4, 8, 1 & 0. Encourage your child to practice at least 10 minutes a day. The best way to become more automatic is to focus on one family at a time until it is mastered. Flashcards, Fact Table Games, or sites such as Math Magician are better choices for practice.

Readers' Workshop

Our new unit of study is: Character Studies. This unit focuses on tracking a character throughout the story and making inferences, finding patterns in their behaviors, observing interactions with other characters and ultimately developing a theory and finding the central message or lesson of the story. As students read, they are flagging evidence, creating T-charts on character traits, and identifying what motivates the character. They are learning about story elements including the setting, plot, climax and the resolution of the story. They are reading in book club books and writing summaries and messages about their characters and books.

Writer's Workshop

During Writers' Workshop, students will be using their information gathered in Readers' Workshop to create and draft literary essays about their characters. They will form a claim or "Theory" about their character and the central message of the story. They are expected to prove their claim with reasons and evidence from the text. This unit pushes students to read deeper and to form opinions about characters in books they read.

Content Areas

In this next marking period, students will be cycling through three units of study. These unit include, Rocks and Minerals, Changes in Matter and Map Skills.

Check Out Our Classroom Website Updates!

Students' published Nonfiction texts are posted on our classroom website. Many of you read them at the holiday party, but have your child read them to you. They are much more colorful and exciting when posted online! kesgrade3.rsd17.org

December Family Meeting with First Graders

Students helped their 1st Grade buddies to publish their nonfiction books using Book Creator on the iPads.