Third Grade News

The Lamplighter School * April 12 - April 26, 2016

New Nonfiction!

If you were able to join us for classroom observations a few weeks ago, you saw a nonfiction reading lesson. Current research says that elementary school students should read about 50% nonfiction and 50% fiction. We see students who tend to choose either ALL nonfiction (especially on a topic they've come to love - dinosaurs, airplanes, animals, etc.) or ALL fiction. If you're looking to diversify your child's reading collection, check out this list of 12 Nonfiction Books Kids Will Actually Read (note that some books are intended for slightly older readers).


Over the next couple of weeks your children are going to investigate measurement. In this study we will re-examine length, the mean and median, and we will explore volume, weight, capacity, and points on a coordinate grid. We will cover the US Customary system and if time allows we will include the metric system. Playing Battleship is a fun way to practice using ordered pairs.

We will also be providing practice for the upcoming ERB math sections. This practice will include computer simulations, which will familiarize them with the format of the test.

If you are interested in ordering a workbook for summer practice, we recommend Summer Skills 3rd Grade Math. Below is a link to a website that will allow you to preview the workbook.

Again, we would like to stress the importance of your children memorizing their multiplication facts. Between now and the end of the year we will be working consistently on multi-digit multiplication. It is critical that your child has quick recall skills.

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Third graders are reading survival stories! As we consider the broader question of what it might take to build a human settlement on Mars, students are reading about a range of survival situations - natural disasters, shipwrecks, camping trips gone wrong, etc. Students will delve deeply into this topic, focusing on the skills and traits the character must pull from to survive and how the setting acts as a powerful force on the story events.

In writing, students have continued their persuasive essays on who we should bring to settle the Mars colony. As they planned their essays, students considered the pros and cons of a variety of jobs (doctors, water scientists, security officers, farmers, etc.). They considered the trade-offs they must make when choosing one job over another and outlined compelling reasons for the jobs they selected. Students will integrate factual information about space travel, the Martian surface, and human settlement as they write their essays. Echoing the work we've done all year, students are pushed to explain their reasons and elaborate so that the reader will be convinced of their ideas.

Special Area SATs Classes

Environmental Science with Mrs. Cauley
Our classes have been busy outside. In their bulb study (another way to grow a plant), they learned different bulbs require different depths in the soil. The daffodils they planted in the fall were 6 inches deep, but the caladiums they will plant soon only need to be 2 inches deep!

Third graders continue their study of seeds. They will be recording the growth of their individual zinnia plants in their science journals. After 4 weeks students will bring home their zinnia. Directions will be sent but they basically just need lots of sun and only a weekly watering. The class is reviewing properties of seeds and the plant cycles of annual and perennial plants. Zinnias are “Texas friendly flowers”, they love our heat and dry weather!

Our Mars temperature charts are almost completed. The students were diligent in marking their graphs accurately when recording Dallas versus Mars equator temperatures sent from the Curiosity Rover. When completed, they compared their graph to see how it compared to the official chart record. The pattern of temperature change from Dallas to Mars is quick striking. Ask your 3rd grader what they have noticed in the temperature differences.

Science with Mr. Burton
Third grade students are in the midst of their Mars project. This is a large, interdisciplinary unit with a Mars colonization theme that will carry through several other classes as well. In science, we’ve begun building basic rockets. Next week we’ll be doing research on our solar system and why we are choosing NOT to colonize certain planets in favor of Mars. We’ll also create a list with a pros and cons of life on Mars.

Technology with Mrs. Ogden

We’ve been Scratching away in 3rd grade!

Third graders have been working hard at utilizing new programming and coding skills to create amazing projects in Scratch. This wonderful program enables students to utilize problem solving skills and higher order thinking skills to create interactive games, stories and artwork. We will be utilizing our new skills to create a fun project all about us! Throughout the rest of third grade, technology classes will be teaming up with literacy, math and science classes to support classroom activities and concepts, as well as our Mars project based learning activity.

Media Center with Mrs. Vermillion
April is National Poetry Month. Students enjoy reading from a wide range of poets. From Douglas Florian, a former Dooley author and his insect shape poems, the word play of Shel Silverstein’s Runny Babbet, who speaks a topsy-turvy language, to Myra Cohn Livingston’s selection of poems from A Song I Sang to You.

We have discussed four ways that poet Billy Collins, a Poet Laureate, suggests for reading a poem out loud.

1. Read slowly.
2. Read in a relaxed, normal voice.
3. Pause only when there is punctuation.
4. Use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar and hard to pronounce words.

Lamplighter Barn
by Myra Cohn Livingston. “I can play in the prickly hay and I can find where the chickens lay and take off my shoes and stay and stay in the tickly hay on a rainy day.”

Ask Your Child About...

  • Which types of people do you think are essential on the Mars colony? Why are those jobs so important?
  • What is happening in your survival book? How does the main character survive the disaster?
  • What does an adjective do? Give some examples of adjectives.
  • What does an adverb do? Give some examples of adverbs.

  • What are you measuring when you determine volume?
  • Use a lattice and another method to multiply 27 X 34.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, April 19 - Lower School Day at the Arboretum - Students should bring a disposable lunch and water bottle and should wear a red shirt. Third graders are expected to carry their own lunch and water bottle all day. We suggest students bring a small backpack with only the essential items included (lunch, water, sunscreen).

April 25-29 - Students take the ERB tests

April 27 - The eggs we've been incubating in Shared Space will hatch on or around Wednesday, April 27!

Friday, May 6 - Grandest Friends' Day