December 2nd Newsletter

Dear Families,

Welcome back from Thanksgiving break! 

There are two special projects going on in Life Lab right now. The first is the climate survey, which Caprice sent home before the break and wants third graders to return by this Friday, December 7th. They will have a class discussion about the results. Your child is supposed to interview an adult (a parent or relative) who has lived in at least two different places to learn about the climate in each place. The second Life Lab project – making a barometer – will require a can from home (14-16 oz size). Please send at least one can to school by Wednesday, December 18th. If you have extras, please send more than one. Thank you!

As you can see from the math homework, we are exploring multiplication in a variety of ways right now. The Bridges math program emphasizes visual representation of mathematical thinking, so students are encouraged to show their thinking even if they can also figure out the multiplication in their head. For some students, seeing the problem visually is the key to understanding. At this point, third graders are not expected to have all of their multiplication facts memorized. If you practice the facts with your child at home, however, that is fine! In our Number Corner activities, students have been developing pattern recognition skills and seeing how arrays can represent multiplication (for example, the total area of a 4 x 6 grid is clearly greater than a 3 x 5 grid).

The class has made excellent progress in terms of remembering to do homework and bring folders back to school each day. Bravo!

We have been spending a lot of time honing our comprehension skills by reading and locating information in issues of National Geographic Explorer magazine. The science articles — about everything from Mount Everest expeditions to reptiles — seem to appeal to everyone in the room. Students read to answer questions that I have given them, but also create questions of their own for the class. We have a lot of fun with this activity and I can already see progress in terms of the confidence third graders demonstrate in answering reading questions. This practice is important preparation for biography research reports, which we will start in January.

Have a wonderful week!