Park Specialists' Newsletter

Third Grade Edition - First Trimester

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First Trimester Recap

All of Park's certified Teaching Specialists have compiled a summary of what students have learned, enjoyed, and mastered in their respective classes for the past twelve weeks. Please scroll down, read, and watch what students have been up to at Park Elementary.

From Park's Art Instructor - Mrs. Ovadje

“Who is Mrs. Ovadje?” some may wonder. She is in her third year as the Art teacher at Park. Formerly known as Ms. Kirchoff, she changed my name over the summer and is now called Mrs. Ovadje (oh-vaw-jay), or Mrs. O.

Throughout this school year, students are learning about art from “Around the World”. They began the year by creating passports; students will get their passport stamped after they “visit” a country. The first trip was to India, where third graders learned about Elephant Festivals and then created their own Indian Elephant. Did you know that elephants can play soccer?

Afterwards, we went on a voyage to Mexico. Students learned about the history of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrating ancestors. Therein, students were introduced to Sugar Skulls, a type of Mexican Folk Art made out of sugar! While students did not create traditional Sugar Skulls, instead, they drew symmetrical skulls and decorated them with bright colors.

In November we journeyed up the continent of North America to study Native American Art. Third graders studied Totem Poles, art that originated along the Pacific Northwest Coast. We read, Raven: A trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, about the legend of the Raven. After studying pictures of traditional Totem Poles, each student picked an animal to represent themselves and their family members. Our Totem Poles told stories about our families. Ask your third grader which totem animal they chose for you!

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From Park's Librarian - Ms. Shadis

In the Library
Third grade began the year by reviewing how to take good care of books as well as beginning research skills of print and online encyclopedias. We read the amazing and true stories of William Kamkwamba and William Hoy.

E-books & Tumblebook Cloud

E-books are available via desktop computer as well as iPad, KindleFire, Nook Tablet.

Another great resource that doesn’t require a dedicated e-reading device, but works on any internet connection is
Username: park423. Password: login

Students can listen to books while following along with the text at a variety of levels. Check it out!

Considering giving your child a special book for the holidays?

Here are some resources that can help:

Need Anything Further?

Parents and guardians are always welcome to contact our librarian, Ms. Shadis, 234-2616 for personalized recommendations. Thank you for encouraging the children you know and love to read -- it's an important lifelong skill!

From Park's Technology Integration Instructor - Mr. Durheim

Third graders have been busy learning more about using all of their fingers to reach keys on the keyboard (introduction to home row and keyboarding) and have been reviewing and learning about about word processor font and image tools (Word). Collaboration continues to be a major theme of TechTime.

Learn more about what we’ve been learning at the TechTime website:!

From Park's Phy Ed Educators - Mrs. Hahn & Ms. Mueller

A typical day in the Physical Education class begins with a fitness warm-up activity. These activities vary from cardiovascular, muscular strength/endurance, and/or flexibility. (Please click here to view a video of students using dice to indicate which activity they are to do, from sprints to abs.) The purpose of these activities is to increase the students’ awareness and level of fitness. After the warm-up, students have a lesson that focuses on the skills that will help them to be successful in the games of a unit. From there, students participate in an age–appropriate game using the skill(s) practiced during that lesson.

With the arrival of snow and thus the need for boots, please help your child to remember to bring his/her tennis shoes on days that he/she has Phy Ed.

Units covered during the first trimester:

*Soccer skills

*Football skills

*Fitness tests

*Bowling skill



Students discussed and demonstrated good sportsmanship during Physical Education and evaluated their own sportsmanship. To continue this throughout the year, a traveling sportsmanship trophy will be awarded each month to a class that demonstrates good sportsmanship.

Successful Superhero Workouts:

A big thank you for all your help in making the Superhero workouts a big success. Students completed over 2,000 workouts at home! It was great seeing their excitement when they completed a workout. Many students have done or are on their way to completing all ten workouts. Pictured above is a picture of all the exercises and the impressive amount of student participants (click on the image to make it even larger)!

Walk for Hunger:

We will once again be doing the "Walk for Hunger" Food shelf drive on December 10-11.
This event combines wellness and community service for our students. All items must be brought to school by the event so that we can deliver to the McLeod County Food Shelf in time for the holidays. Last year, our students collected 2,768 lbs. of food. We will be needing volunteers once again this year. Please contact us if you are able to help at 587-2837 or email us at or

From Park's Music Teachers - Ms. Hauth & Mrs. Hoeft

Throughout this school year, third graders will be adding new songs to their repertoire while still enjoying old favorites from second grade, all while working hard to strengthen our singing voices and pitch matching. Songs we have sung this trimester include: September, Seasons Song (Hey Ho Fall is Here), Autumn Leaves Now Are Falling, Skeleton Stomp, Make New Friends, I Had a Cat, Sing Together, Mirrorland, and Rig-a-Jig-Jig. We have reviewed direction of melody through singing, moving to songs, and playing instruments. We have been reviewing solfege syllables (Do, Re, Mi) and are currently learning a new note called Sol. Students first echo melodic patterns using these notes and then they learn to read melodies on the music staff.

We learned about different time signatures and experienced meter in three-beats through a vocal and instrumental piece titled September, which we sang while simultaneously performing an ostinato on the Orff instruments and unpitched percussion. Supplied with a full set of Orff instruments, including xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels, every student was able to participate. One of the new skills we worked on this fall was alternating mallets (left hand, right hand, left, right…etc.), which we practiced while reviewing Little Puppy and Little Kitty, favorite songs from second grade. View the video below to see students showing their mallet skills!

Moving in meters of twos and threes have helped students discover the difference in mood and feeling created by a song’s meter. To better understand this, students learned waltz steps to the song Autumn Leaves Now Are Falling. With much enthusiasm and a bit of giggles, students danced well! Another dance this trimester included a circle dance from Sweden called Fjaskern, which was introduced in second grade but to which additional steps were added in third grade.

We have done a lot of rhythmic work: reading and using rhythmic patterns in meters of two and three, memorizing and decoding a 6-beat pattern that is played by the teacher and then written down in correct notation by the students, and, most recently, placing bar lines for rhythmic notation and easy organization of music notes. New rhythms learned this trimester included the half note and the dotted half note.
Mrs. Wheatley's class in Music

From Park's Science Specialists - Mrs. Kucera & Mrs. Mueller

Science is “Out of This World”! Space has been our focus of study during the first trimester. We specifically concentrated on the sun, Earth, and moon. Rotation (spin) and revolution (orbit) were words that helped us learn why we have night and day and why the moon “appears” to change its shape. One of the most important concepts we discovered was how the tilt of the Earth, along with Earth’s orbit of the sun, is the reason for the four seasons. During all of this important learning, we worked extremely hard to create different models of the solar system to help us understand these concepts. (Click here to view a video of students modeling planetary orbit.) In addition, students learned about two special scientists, Galileo and Buzz Aldrin, who helped to shape what is known about outer space. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to stand on the moon’s surface. We learned about both of their lives and each man’s great contributions to the study of outer space. The highlight of the trimester for the students would certainly have been the special visit from two Space Cadets during Spaceology. During their Spaceology time, students experienced an asteroid storm, as well as, a variety of other challenges that might prepare them someday for outer space.

After learning about the Earth in outer space, we took a closer look at what makes up the Earth. Students learned that the Earth has four layers: crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. From there we took an even closer look at the earth materials that make up the crust, specifically rocks and minerals. Students had numerous hands-on experiences with this unit, from sorting rocks to testing minerals to doing a Skittles Lab demonstrating weathering and erosion. This unit will continue into the second trimester. Park Elementary Scientists rock!

Park Elementary School

Park Elementary School serves approximately 875 students in second through fifth grade. Our purpose is to meet the needs of the whole child with an emphasis on basic academic skills. We are committed to providing as many hands-on learning experiences as possible in all academic areas. It is important that our students know, understand, and apply what we teach. We provide instruction and opportunities in all academic areas. As an elementary school, our focus is on language arts and mathematics.