PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

302: New Units!

Dear Families,

I am excited to meet with all of you this week to talk about your child’s progress in third grade and to make some goals moving forward. Please review your child’s progress report and spend some time thinking about what you would like to focus on during our brief ten minutes. We have a very packed schedule on Thursday. I will make every effort to stay on time for each appointment, as I want to respect your time. If we find that we have more to discuss than can fit into ten minutes, we can always make a follow-up appointment. Thank you for your understanding. 

In class, we started new units in all subject areas! In Writing, we are now working on writing persuasive speeches. We brainstormed ideas for topics, including problems we see in our communities as well as positive things or ideas we’d like to recommend to others. Kids are writing about recycling, getting out into nature, using laptops more often in school, and the importance of having a dog, to name a few ideas! Throughout this unit, we will focus on having a big idea, or thesis, and supporting our thesis with concrete examples. We will work on structuring our writing in an organized way, including paragraphs. We are also talking about the importance of “knowing your audience” and writing to persuade a certain group of people. At home, be sure to ask your child about their topics. You can also help your student find ideas by noticing the world around them. Maybe there is someone in your neighborhood who is already working to make positive change. Or maybe your child is passionate about a cause– help them recognize that their strong ideas and feelings can become topics for a persuasive speech. 

In Reading, we began a character study unit. Together we are reading Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo, a wonderful book with very rich characters. We are noticing how our main character Opal thinks, talks, and acts, and we are looking for patterns in her behavior. We are also going a bit deeper to start to understand her behavior by not only noticing how she is acting, but also asking why she’s acting that way. This type of work requires a more advanced level of inferencing, and often involves going back to reread key parts of the text. You can support this thinking by asking your children about the characters in their books. Ask them questions such as: “What is your character like? How do you know?” and “Why do you think your character did that?”. 

In Math, we started an early multiplication unit which will help the kids develop a deep understanding of what is happening in multiplication, as well as some early strategies which will support their number sense. One of the models we are using this week is the ratio table:

Cars 1 2 3 6 8 10 20
Wheels 4 8 12 24 32 40 80

The ratio table can be used as a model to help solve multiplication problems, and also helps kids develop the kind of reasoning that will support them as problems get more complicated down the road. For example, kids can use 3×4 to solve 6×4 once they recognize the relationships between the numbers. You will see homework around this later in the week. This work is very new, so it’s understandable if your child needs support. 

In Social Studies, kids have finished their continent project. The students created three maps– a physical map, a political map, and a relief map– and a brochure highlighting the unique animals, landforms, and interesting places found on their continent. You will see their beautiful work in our classroom! Now we are beginning to develop an understanding of culture. This week the students will work together to define culture and begin to explore the many ways people express their culture around the world. 

I hope you have a wonderful week and I look forward to seeing you!


Ms. Anne