PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

What’s happening in 301 and 302?

Who did it? Suspects and Suspicious characters!

We are in the midst of our Mystery Book Clubs unit.  In this unit readers are choosing from a collection of mystery text sets. Thank you to all families who contributed books to our classroom libraries- you have helped make our Book Clubs a success!

This unit is really engaging for students, as they identify suspects, find clues, and act as “crime solvers”. But engagement isn’t the only reason for students to read Mysteries… it’s an opportunity to revisit foundational skills for reading fiction.

This genre is designed to support close and inferential reading. As readers look for clues, they infer as they think “What could this detail suggest?”

We are continuing to expect readers to think across the span of increasingly difficult chapter books.  We are also expecting high volume of reading throughout this unit!  Readers should be getting through  3-4 mystery books within their book clubs. In the last bend of our unit, we will be expecting readers to apply all they have learned as mystery readers to any fiction book they are reading.

Coming Up…Independent Homework Project…

The Solar Cooker Design Challenge

Next week, your child will receive another Homework project- this time it’s a STEM project! Each child will be asked to design a solar cooker AT HOME. You will be given detailed instructions, and possible design ideas. We will be studying how we can harness the sun as a source of energy, and convert it from visible light into heat. You can even harness the sun’s energy to melt ice using a solar cooker! In class, we will use test our designs to see which solar cookers will melt the ice cubes the fastest.  We will also use our solar cookers during our Solar Cookout! Be on the lookout for handouts about the Solar Cooker Design Challenge in your child’s backpack.

Math-What’s next?

We are completing our Fractions unit, and completing our final assessment this week.  Our next unit of study is Geometry- a study of 2-D and 3-D shapes.

This unit continues work in previous grades on working with 2-D shapes and their defining characteristics. Children will continue to be exposed to geometric concepts and vocabulary, including triangle, quadrilateral, square, rectangle, parallelogram, trapezoid, pentagon, hexagon, and polygon. Children will have the opportunity to work with shapes in relation to one another, and have experiences sorting and classifying shapes according to their defining attributes.

In this unit students are striving to:


  • understand that shapes in different categories may share attributes
  • understand that shapes can be sorted and classified in a hierarchy, according to defining attributes (Ex.- Polygons are the umbrella category for other types of shapes, such as quadrilaterals and parallelograms)
  • understand  that shapes may belong to more than one category, depending on which attributes they exhibit (Ex.-A square can be considered a rectangle. It can also be considered a parallelogram, a rhombus, and polygon.)

While we are in this unit, your child will continue to receive math homework in which there will be review of concepts taught throughout the year.

Multiplication Facts

Please remember that students are expected to have the multiplication facts committed to memory by the end of grade 3. This is a foundation for multi-digit multiplication in 4th grade. While many students have met this goal, other students need additional practice. Please have your child work with flash cards or online games if your child needs more practice.


Upcoming Dates:

May 16- Trip to the Chinese Scholar’s Garden

May 24- Scholastic Book Order due for 301