PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Week of 11/14 (Lots of Housekeeping Stuff)

Dear Third Grade Families,

Let’s talk about trips. One of the luxuries of working at BSI is the wonderfully enthusiastic parent community. I rarely have to worry about if I will have enough chaperones for my field trips, because you guys are so present and available for your children in amazing ways. But sometimes when we get complacent, we find ourselves surprised. For the trip to the zoo, I was not allowed to have more than seven adults. I had five parents lined up to come on the trip, plus Ms. Camille and myself (one was meeting us there, which shouldn’t have been a problem, because I was to have four other parents on the bus.) What happened was that almost all of the parents who were expected to come on the bus, did not show up. Luckily, Steven’s dad came and four kids were absent. The ratio was allowable and we were able to attend the trip. We were very close to not being allowed to go. Obviously, things come up. Kids get sick. Bosses make you schedule meetings. I know. I am going to ask, however, that if you sign up for a trip with a limited amount of chaperones, that you be extra sure that you can attend and that you please let me know the day before, if possible, if you cannot attend. I’m also wondering if we could get a few floating chaperones who maybe live nearby, who I might be able to contact in an emergency, if not enough people show up.


In writing we are going to publish our first pieces this Friday. Never have I had a group of children so enthusiastic about writing. Many students, after finishing their published piece, have asked me if they can draft and publish a second piece. I will never stop them from doing that! Students will share their writing with the second graders on Friday. You, of course, are welcome to see their lovely work when you join us for parent-teacher conferences.

In reading, we are moving on from character emotions to character traits. You can help your child at home by looking through the character trait sheet, which they will be getting next week, and talking about people you know. Maybe each person in the family. Choose a trait and then say why they have that trait using evidence from something the person does or says. For example, you might say, “Your little brother is adventurous because he wanted to go on the roller coaster all by himself.” Or, “Grandma is cautious because she is very preoccupied by your untied shoelaces.”

Please remember that your child should be reading for 30 minutes each night. Also they should be writing two entries each week. That means when I go to check their notebooks, I should see four new entries, because I check them every two weeks. Students who are not finished with their entries when I check them, must finish by Friday or do them during choice time.

Here are the two poems to memorize for the next two weeks. We will have the share after Thanksgiving:

What You Don’t Know About Food

Jelly’s made from jellyfish.
Spaghetti’s made from worms.
Ice cream’s just some dirty snow
mixed up with grimy germs.
Bread is made of glue and paste.
So are cakes and pies.
Peanut butter’s filled with stuff
like squashed up lizard eyes.
And as you eat potato chips,
remember all the while –
they’re slices of the dried-up brain
of some old crocodile.

By Florence Perry Hyde

This poem doesn’t have an author or a title. We just refer to it by the first line. It is from the oral tradition and is one variation out of many. I just chose this one because it makes the most sense. I also think the kids will be thanking me for years for making them memorize it!

30 days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have 31–
Just a minute, we’re not done!
February’s the shortest one.
With 28 most of the time,
but in Leap Year twenty-nine.

Writing prompts for those children who have a hard time with such things:

In the last blog I posted four types of entries that are great for Personal Narrative ideas. If they have already written those four, they can try taking one item from the list or timeline or map and writing a whole page about it.

I hope to see many of you at the Barnes and Noble book fair this weekend. I will be reading poems from One Minute Till Bedtime Poems, the anthology in which I have my first published poem. Come support BSI!