PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Third Grade ELA Week of 3/6/17

Dear Families,

I have been longing to blog for a while, but preparing for parent-teacher conferences and report cards has gotten the best of my time.  Now I have a moment, so here we go!


We are doing so many exciting things right now, I don’t even know where to begin.  In Readers’ Workshop, we have been reading non-fiction and learning how to use all of the details in a piece of writing, in order to understand the main idea of what the author is trying to teach.  We’ve thought about parts and the whole, and how a detail is just one part of the main idea.  We have also been doing a lot of work with vocabulary lately.  We learned about a lot of context clues that can let the reader know that the author is about to tell them the meaning of a word.  For example, the words “is called”  l et us know that the meaning of the word probably came right before the word.  We’ve also found that taking a word apart, like into syllables, and recognizing what part of a word means, can help us get closer to the meaning of a new word.  We did some explorations with the prefixes ex-, pre- and sub-.  Or we might look at the word “fruitless” and see the word “fruit” and know that “less” can mean without.  So “fruitless” can mean literally without fruit.  But when we looked it up, we also found that is can mean “useless”  or “unproductive.”  It is without the fruits of our labors.


We’ve been using venn diagrams to understand the subtle differences in meaning between synonyms.

In writing, we have been focusing on responding to literature.  We are deeply engaged in our read aloud of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin.  We have been writing responses to the story to deepen our understanding of the story and to practice going back into the text to find evidence to support our thinking.


Tomorrow we will recite “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.  I am almost done memorizing it.  I know that it is a bit advanced for third grade, but we have done so much with this poem!  We learned about the old colossus, the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Thanks to Sean’s parents, we read a picture book called Emma’s Poem, that told the story of Emma Lazarus and her work with immigrants. We learned how to play “Guess and Check” with unfamiliar vocabulary words such as “brazen” and “tempest-tost.”  Most importantly, though, we learned the power of the pen.  The statue of liberty was given to us by France to celebrate our mutual love of liberty.  But this one poem changed the meaning of the statue to a symbol of our country as a melting pot, a welcoming home to immigrants from around the world. Writing is powerful!

I’d also like to thank Igor’s family and Nicolas M’s family for buying reading pillows for Ms. Audrey’s room.  If there is a third parent who is buying them, I thank you, too!

One note about writing notebooks:  Your child should be writing two entries a week.  I check them every other week, so I should see four new entries every time I check.  During the month of March, I will be checking to see if they did their writing only.  I won’t be able to give my little post-it notes for now, but I will resume them in April.  I can’t wait!

Writing suggestions for notebooks:

Write a whole page about clouds.

Write about a time you got hurt.

Write a description of your favorite animal.


Ms. Mallery