PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

301 Plunges into the New Year

Happy 2018! I hope that you had a wonderful and restful holiday season. This is an exciting time in 3rd grade, as we are ready to tackle new challenges!

In Writer’s Workshop we’re working to revise our personal narratives.  This is an important skill in 3rd grade, as students learn to look at their drafts with fresh eyes and with an awareness of their audience.  We have been using Karen Hesse as our mentor author, trying to identify and replicate the strategies she uses as a writer to draw in her readers.

Here are some of the revision strategies that students have been or will be learning:

  • writing a strong lead using action, dialogue or setting
  • developing the heart of the story (the most important part)
  • adding in the internal story (what is the character thinking, wondering, or imagining)
  • adding detail to the part that has a strong emotion
  • paragraphing our story

Young writers can be reluctant to revise! Once the pencil leaves the page, many third grade writers consider themselves “done”.  All these revision strategies encourage our writers to write longer, more developed, more polished final pieces of writing.

In Reader’s Workshop we will begin a new unit in which we will be learning how to read informational texts.  Reading nonfiction in third grade will lead to the development of new skills that students need when reading to learn. In second grade, students worked on identifying the central topic, and gathered information related to that topic. Third graders will be working to read to figure out the main idea. Readers will learn to question what the author is trying to teach us in a nonfiction book. They will also learn the important skill of summarizing. This week, students were given a Pre-assessment in which they read three non-fiction articles and were asked to summarize the texts and include supporting details, as well as to synthesize what they learned about the design of Formula One race cars.  All this work in Reading and Writing workshop will support students’ success on the ELA exams in the Spring.

In Math, we have begun a new investigation based on the context of Muffles Truffles chocolate shop.  We are using this context to support student in developing important ideas in multiplication. We will use this situation as a springboard for students to investigate and use the model of the array. This is a standards-based model that students are expected to use to model multiplication and its properties. In class, we use grid paper and square tiles as tools to represent multiplication on the array.

The array model shown below shows a 3×5 array. Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 11.27.22 AM

The array model also shows the relationship between multiplication, repeated addition, and later in the spring, even division!

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 11.27.44 AM

In the next few weeks, you will see homework coming home that expects your child to use an array model.  Some of our students already know the multiplication facts, but many do not yet. As children begin to learn some of multiplication facts from repeated exposure, the array model will continue to support their conceptual understanding of multiplication and division.

Lastly, an update about our trip to the Recycling Facility, which had to be cancelled due to last week’s weather: we’re rescheduled for Friday, April 27th! I’ll be reaching out to inquire about who’s interested in chaperoning as we get closer to that date.