Third Grade News

December 2014

Important Information

  • We will be taking the county end of term tests all next week. Please make all efforts to have your child here and on time each day.
  • Holiday Parties will be on Friday, December 19th from 9:00-10:00. All are welcome to attend.
  • Winter Break - December 22-January 5 Students return on January 6th

Social Studies Update

We are finishing up learning about the American Heroes; Susan B. Anthony, Mary McCleod Bethune, and Fredrick Douglass. ** We will be testing over all three of these American Heroes on Thursday, December 11. You can help your child review by going over the quizzes they have brought home on these three heroes. You can also go onto the portal and reread through all of the books. Take the time to have conversations with your child about the heroes.

Investigating Science

This week, students completed the Rocks and Minerals unit. The Rocks and Minerals test was administered today. Soil is the next unit. The students will compare and contrast the texture, particle size and color in top soils (clay, loam, potting (soil, sand) using observational skills. Using weathering and erosion, the students will determine how water and wind can change rocks and soil over time using observation. The end of the Soil unit will carry over into the first week in January. **The final Soil test is tentatively scheduled Friday January 9th. Continue to use the Science Lab book as a study tool.

Math Corner

This month we are taking all of the math practices that we have learned and learning to apply them to real life situations through word problems. We will be working through two step word problems. Students are practicing different ways to solve word problems using the following method:

1st read: make a mental picture of what is going on in the problem

2nd read: record the important information that is needed to solve the problem

3rd read: choose a method to solve the problem

Once the problem is solved you will need to record your answer in a complete sentence.

You can help your child with working on word problem by using real life situations. The grocery store is a great place to come up with many problems.


How much would it be to buy 3 boxes of goldfish if the goldfish are about $3 per box?

There are 24 cookies in this box and 4 people in our family. How many cookies could each person have if we share them equally?

I have $20. How many boxes of $2 crackers could I buy before I run out of money?

The main thing that students struggle with when it comes to word problems is deciding what method to use to solve the problem. They now know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Many students still want to simply add whatever numbers they see in a problem. Encourage them to make a picture to decide what to do.

**We will not be testing on the unit before we leave for the Winter break. We will be reviewing and working more on it when we return in January and will test over it then.

Here is a great website you can use to quiz your child on word problems...

Reading Rocks

In December we are continuing our integrated reading and social studies instruction with our American Heroes: Mary McLeod Bethune, Frederick Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony. The reading concepts covered in this instruction consists of non-fiction conventions students are locating, interpreting, and understanding in biography texts. A large focus has been placed on: captions and photographs, charts and graphs, types of font, the use of the glossary, and organized text under headings and sub-headings. Students will be tested on these non-fiction conventions on Tuesday Dec. 16. Also on this test we will cover other 2nd quarter AKS that include identifying the point of view in which an author writes (first or third) and identifying multiple meaning words using the context that surrounds them.

We will focus on character development, changes, and motives in fiction books the last week in December. We will continue this unit when we return. Some important questions to ask your child about what he or she is independently reading to help them think about their characters are listed below.

What traits describe your character? What evidence from the text helps you to know those traits?

How did your character behave or feel at the beginning of the story? The middle? The end? Did her or she change his or her behaviors throughout the story? If so, what events happened that made them change?

Would you want to be friends with your character? Why or why not? Use evidence from the text to support your thinking.

One focus we are working on is getting rid of feeling words such as good, bad, sad, and happy. We want to dig into deeper emotional/behavioral words that specifically describe the feelings or actions of the character based on the situations/events the character faces throughout the story. Some words to focus on are worried, disappointed, overwhelmed, ecstatic, flabbergasted, shy, naughty.

Enjoy reading over the break. Remember children should be reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts to balance their reading strategies. Check out the public library over the break if you are looking for a change or wide selection of texts. Also, be on the look out for a change in the reading homework assignments for the third quarter when we return in January. We will still be reading articles, but some of the nightly activities will change. We will go over and model the new routines in class.

Writing for Success

During the month of December students will continue to work in class on their informational/research writing sample. This it their first long (5 paragraph) writing sample so it is taking some time to complete. Our goal is to have these completed and published (hand written final copies) by the end of next week.

Once we are done with our informational writing we will complete a short letter writing unit. **Please send your child to school with a plain (any color will do), stamped envelope. DO NOT ADDRESS IT! Students will be working on proper letter format as well as addressing envelopes in order to mail the letters.

How can you help? Well, if you're doing holiday letters or cards allow your child to use their neatest handwriting to help to address the envelopes or draft the letter. Your child also knows how to edit and revise so you can always have them check over your work if you'd prefer! Have them pay special attention to the placement of commas in letters, dates and addresses. We appreciate your helping us to create great writers!

Grammar Fun

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!

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