Mr. Donnellon's Classroom News

March Newsletter

Odds and Ends


In like a lion and out like a lamb. March is finally here! The March is Reading Month (MIRM) calendar of activities is built around the theme "Reading is Magic!" MIRM had its kick-off assembly on February 26 with a Baffling Bill Magician Assembly. Throughout the assembly the magical saying was "The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the further you'll go!" It was an assembly that was enjoyed by all who attended.


3-2 PTA Science Olympiad 6:30-8:30 (Pre-registration required)

3-9 MIRM Flashlight Friday

3-22 Northwood's Open House event

3-23 Visiting author, Brian Chick, comes to Northwood.


For more MIRM information please see Note and Calendar

Reader's Workshop

In reading, we are progressing through our Informational Reading unit, "Understanding Expository, Narrative, and Hybrid informational Text." We have learned strategies that help strong readers of informational text determine the main idea and supporting details and fit all the text together as they read to become experts on different topics. We talked about the importance of previewing the text, identifying and using text features to predict how information is organized, and thinking about subtitles and headings as we study the pages of expository text.


We are now learning how to determine different text structures as we read and use these structures to help us read and synthesize the informational text. Readers are learning ways to take notes not only to understand the text structure but also to understand the content of what has been read. Readers will acquire organizational strategies for explaining the content of their topics to others.


Please encourage your child to use the following link to help strengthen their reading skills while practicing for the M-STEP test.


The Michigan Department of Education has released practice E.L.A. items for students to use to prepare for the M-STEP. Although third graders do not take the M-STEP until May, it is a great idea for our students to start getting comfortable with the test and practicing. Here are directions:


1) Anyone can access the Sample Item Sets through the Chrome browser at https://wbte.drcedirect.com/MI/portals/mi/.

The directions to access the sample items are the same for both methods:

a) M-STEP is on the left side;
b) Select "Online Tools Training"
c) Select "Sample Item Sets"
d) Select the grade
e) Select the content area
f) Login with the Username and Password provided on the login screen

Writer's Workshop

We are nearing the end of our Informational Writing Unit: The Personal Expertise. Students have chosen a topic that they feel they can teach others about. We have been working on drafting our 5 chapters and then strategies for elaborating our writing within each chapter. We have started typing in our pieces on the chromebooks so that it is easier to revise our writing.



Please encourage your child to use the following link to help strengthen their writing skills while practicing for the M-STEP test.


The Michigan Department of Education has released practice E.L.A. items for students to use to prepare for the M-STEP. Although third graders do not take the M-STEP until May, it is a great idea for our students to start getting comfortable with the test and practicing. Here is the link: https://wbte.drcedirect.com/MI/portals/mi/.

Math Workshop

We are nearing the end of our fourth math unit, Multi-digit Addition and Subtraction. In this unit we have studied three research based methods for multi-digit addition: the common algorithm New Groups Above, plus two methods found to be effective at this grade level, New Groups Below and Show All Totals. These methods are introduced to help students see and discuss core mathematical ideas about addition and subtraction.


To subtract multi-digit numbers, students are taught to ungroup all the places before subtracting. Research has found this approach reduces errors and helps develop conceptual understanding of multi-digit subtraction.


With both multi-digit addition and subtraction, students will be taught to provide "proof drawings" to show their thinking when needed.


Please encourage your child to use the following link to help strengthen their mathematics skills while practicing for the M-STEP test.


The Michigan Department of Education has released practice math items for students to use to prepare for the M-STEP. Although third graders do not take the M-STEP until May, it is a great idea for our students to start getting comfortable with the test and practicing. Here is the link: https://wbte.drcedirect.com/MI/portals/mi/.

Social Studies

We are continuing to work on History in social studies. We have studied all about the Native American groups which have lived in the area of Michigan. We will move into European exploration of the area, the French fur trade, and its effect on the development of Michigan. We will begin to look at Cause and Effect relationships once England got involved in the fur trade and the conflicts which occurred. Then we will study how Michigan finally reached statehood.