PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

302- Maps, Drafts, Mysteries, and Subtraction!

Dear Families,

I hope you are enjoying this cooler fall weather. We have been very busy over the past couple of weeks, and we are excited to share what we’ve been up to in third grade.

First, some important things to know:

  • This Friday (10/11), we will have a special third grade only Pajama Day! Periodically throughout the year, we will celebrate our third grade community by doing something a little different. On Friday, we invite your children to wear their pajamas for a cozy day of learning. 
  • In Social Studies, students are studying a continent with a partner. Kids will be creating salt clay relief maps of their continents at the end of next week. We are requesting supplies for the clay and are also looking for 3-4 volunteers for each class to help us make the clay and form the maps on Friday, October 18 from 9:30am on. Please sign up to donate supplies or volunteer your time on this form
  • We have a wonderful new Teaching Assistant working with us! Ms. E. joined us last week and has quickly become an integral part of our community.

Now, here’s a look at what we’ve been doing in class: In Writing, we are moving into drafting our second personal narrative stories. Kids worked very hard on their first pieces. They tried out specific writing techniques including adding dialogue, internal thinking, finding and adding to the most important part of the story, and showing feelings through action and description. Now our writers will try it again with a second piece before choosing one of the pieces to publish. At home, ask your student about the story they are telling. Talk through the story with your child–the more they rehearse out loud, the easier the writing will be in class. Notice writing techniques in stories you read aloud–we often use authors as mentors in class. Interesting dialogue and descriptive action during important scenes are good places to slow down. 

In Reading, we are just starting our Mystery unit. In this unit, kids will be reading a mystery series with a partner. They will make a plan for their reading and work together to solve the mystery before the main character! This unit helps our readers to make inferences, track a story across a longer chapter book, and understand character traits and motivations. Throughout the unit, your child will come home with certain chapters to read for homework. It is important that they complete this reading, as they are accountable to their partners. 

In Math, we are spending time revisiting subtraction strategies and solving story problems. You will notice that we are now asking kids to complete story problems in a very thorough and specific way. We expect kids to write an equation for the problem, show the steps of their thinking, and write the solution as a sentence that answers the question. This helps kids clearly communicate their thinking to others, which is an ongoing goal. We will also do some work with overall number sense as we move into computing with numbers up to 1,000. Having a strong number sense helps kids understand if their answers are reasonable, and can improve accuracy. Check in with your student during homework time. Notice what is challenging for your child. Do they have more than one strategy to solve subtraction problems? Are they able to clearly explain their mental processes? Are they accurate? 

As we mentioned previously, we are immersed in a continent study in Social Studies. In partnerships, kids chose a continent of interest and first made political maps. This week we will focus on physical maps of the continents, to be followed by the relief map project. Our culminating piece will be a brief written research brochure highlighting the special features of each continent. 

I hope you have a wonderful week!


Ms. Anne