Mrs. Bruno's Buzz
Welcome Families to the 2012-2013 School Year!
It is with great enthusiasm and pleasure that I introduce myself as your child's third grade teacher. I would like to welcome you and your child to third grade at Blackrock School. This truly is a wonderful place to grow and learn! Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or at 822-9450 if you have any questions throughout the school year. I truly value your thoughts and concerns. Kerry Bruno
Weekly support of homework is greatly appreciated. Students are asked to practice their new spelling patterns or rules for a few minutes each night by either: playing a game on spellingcity.com or choosing a pencil and paper task from the backside of the log, which is sent home weekly.
In addition, students are asked to master addition and subtraction facts in the months of September, October and November by spending 10 minutes each night in a reinforcing activity. Flashcards, or any other game sent home in the orange folder at the beginning of the school year are quick and fun ways to practice. In December, students are asked to begin memorizing skip counting patterns as they relate to multiplication tables. Mastering multiplication facts should remain your focus at home over the next few months.
Most weeks, a reading passage and related comprehension task is sent home and due on Friday. The goal is to reinforce and review various comprehension strategies being taught in the classroom.
Let us not forget our monthly home reading requirements! Reading 3 texts of appropriate level and different genres allows our students to continue to become better readers. Be sure to chit-chat with your child about his/her reading and record your topic in the "chatterbox" section of the log. Chatterbox suggestions are always on the reverse side of the log and support grade three learning. As always, there are book suggestions, as well and students are invited to borrow books from our extensive classroom library in order to fulfill requirements.
If homework ever seems like "too much" or "too little" please contact me immediately and we can put a place in place to better support your child. Life is busy and I do not want children to be stressed about their homework requirements!
Monday: Art Education
Wednesday: Physical Education
Thursday: Library and Media Education
Friday: Music Education
Each month this year, your child has had the opportunity to earn both a perfect homework award, as well as a perfect organization award.
Perfect homework awards are given to children who have turned each homework assignment in on time and all requirements of the assignment have been met.
Perfect organization awards are given to children who have maintained a neat and organized desk, including all materials within the desk, such as folders. Assignments which need to be returned to school in a timely manner have been, as well.
Since the school year began, students had been immersed in a study of number sense. Students are required to master understanding of numbers through a variety of ways. They must understand concepts such as place value and estimation. There are many skills which build upon one another and are essential for success.
One way you can help is by playing with numbers to measure your child's flexibility with numbers. For example, when given a random number in the tens, hundreds and thousands, can your child add or subtract 9, 10, 11, 99, 100, 101, with ease? This type of math game will allow for practice in nimble numbers and provide a more solid foundation for more difficult math learning.
Another vital way you can assist is in the mastery of addition and subtraction facts. I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Mastery is seen when a child can answer a fact without hesitation. This means no finger counting or other types of "hidden" counting are taking place. The child "owns" a fact when the answer is stated automatically, not just accurately. This consistent practice will allow students to perform well when asked to perform multidigit addition and subtraction! Keep the practice going!
We are currently in a unit of study based on the concepts of multiplication. Students must understand the ways multiplication connections to addition. Classroom learning is focused more on building concepts and problem solving and less on memorization of facts. You can help at home by having your child skip count by 2's, 3's, all the way up to 12's! In addition, picking up a set of flashcards would be beneficial and having your child begin memorization of facts up to 10 is required at this time. For children who need a challenge, you can bring their learning through the 11's and 12's!
Visit the following websites for additional support for your child: funbrain mathplayground, aplusmath, learningplanet, primarygames, abcya, dositey, ixl, apples4theteacher, kidnumbers, thinkfinity, mathfacts and bigbrainz.
Each morning, students are engaged in Guided Reading. During this time, children engage in problem solving unknown words and self-monitoring for understanding. Students are introduced to new vocabulary and practice using many comprehension strategies that have been taught. Oral and written response to text takes place daily. Students have been working hard to identify the most important ideas in text. Students are required to identify main ideas, as well as differentiate between significant and insignificant details. This is a challenge for all. Using the text to support thinking is also an ongoing practice during guided reading. Other comprehension strategies include: making connections, comparing and contrasting, identifying facts versus opinions, supporting opinions with information from the text, using context clues to figure out the meanings of unknown words, noticing character change and understanding character traits and motives, questioning, predicting/revisiting predictions, as well as making inferences. Reading fluenty with expression which reinforces understanding is also a daily practice.
Shared reading takes place occasionally to introduce or reinforce a comprehension strategy. A variety of texts are used during this time: stories, poetry, as well as social studies and science content.
In addition, most days allow for an independent reading time, where students can select and read a book of their choice to read for pleasure and practice using the many reading strategies they have learned.
Are you looking for great book choices for your child? Check out www.readkiddoread.com for suggestions.
Students have engaged in the study of simple machines. They are understanding that simple machines make work, and therefore life, easier! In addition, they are learning that more complex machines are often made of two or more simple machines. You can support this learning at home by identifying machines in your own home and identifying which types they are: wheel and axle, screw, pulley or inclinded plane?
Water, water everywhere! Students are about to enter the exciting investigation of water. They will understand that water exists in different states and understand how it acts in these states. They will learn many new words and concepts! Soon, you will be able to ask your child what s/he has learned about this vital earth material. A critical component of our science program is science notebooking. Students are required to maintain an organized notebook which reflects student thinking, as well as our learning. Prior to investigating, students are presented with a focus question for each investigation and are asked to make predictions. While investigating, students collect data in the form of pictures, words and/or numbers. After investigating, students write a claim which states what has been learned (revisitng the focus question) and provide evidence for their claim, using their data. Predictions are revisited, as students see which of their predictions were supported by their data and which were not, as well as identifying why.
Spring science unit: Structures of Life, including plants, crayfish and bess beetles!
Students have been engaged in learning about communities. They have learned what constitutes a community, as well as different types of communities that exist in our world. They have engaged in comparing and contrasting communities. Observing two communities of the past by visiting Plimoth Plantation provides real world application. Writing about the English Colonists and Wampanoag allows students to become authors and teachers as they synthesize their learning and produce a piece to inform others.
In the spring, students will be engaged in a unit about economics. They will be learning many new important words and concepts. Students will create a small business as a culmination to this unit, but for those of you who have had children experience third grade mini-society, this year's Young Entrepreneurs will look a lot different!
Each week, your child is introduced to new spelling patterns and/or rules. Recording, blind sorting, speed sorting and extending are some of the activities your child engages in, throughout the week, in order to support mastery of these patterns and rules. To challenge your child, think of words that follow your child's pattern or rule, but is not on the list! The goal is that your child can use the knowledge of the pattern or rule to spell any word that fits the pattern or rule! Thank you for your continued support with spelling homework.
Your child has written poetry, opinion pieces and in response to their reading. In addition, your child engages in informational writing connected to social studies and science learning. Students have a writer's notebook which contains lists of topics that can be written about during "free writing" opportunities. Each time your child's writing is scored, a specific writing goal is created for your child and shared at a conference so s/he understands how to improve. For example, some students still need to master correct sentence structure, while others have moved on to writing with more complex sentence structure, greater fluency or more interesting word choice. We are improving our ability to edit and revise our own work! This is a difficult skill for many.
Students are drafting a piece about a special family tradition. Thank you for supporting your child by helping them brainstorm ideas which can be used in this piece. They are following the story diamond for organization. Ask your child what this means. Our current focus as we draft is on writing clear details (and lots of them!). Once pieces have been drafted, students will be engaged in a series of mini-lessons, which will serve to enhance their writing. Dialogue, onomatopoeia, and similes are some of the writer's tools that will be applied to make your child's story even more interesting. This piece will be put in a class book, which is published by a real publisher, Student Treasures Publishing. Order forms will be sent home soon so you can own your very own copy!