Welcome to Third Grade!
This is a very exciting and challenging year for your child. The third graders are now solidifying their primary years to make a good transition into intermediate grades next year. It is a year of growth and challenge and as their teacher. I look forward to being an important part of your child’s learning along with you. Thank you in advance for all of your support in emphasizing the importance of learning and always doing your best.
Each child entering my classroom is a unique and special individual with their own talents and qualities. All students have a right to a good learning environment with high expectations for each child. My job as their third grade teacher is to ensure that class is conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect. When one person is speaking, others are quiet and listening. We laugh with and not at others. I expect the children to do their best at following directions, being prepared, trying hard in all academic areas, and respecting school property and the property of others.
I try to be proactive in my teaching so behavior issues tend not to be a problem. Stealing a line from E. B. White, “If I make the work interesting the discipline usually takes care of itself.” I use lots of positive encouragement and interactions with your children. For rewarding positive behavior, we have reward coupons for individual. Other classroom and group rewards we be implemented as the year progresses.
In third grade, we use the “Right on Target” system. A pocket chart is set up in the room for each child. In each pocket, there are a series of color-coded cards. If a child chooses not to follow the classroom rules (decided upon by the whole class), a card will be removed from his/her pocket. Throughout the day, each card showing will have a specific meaning:
Blue– On target
Green – Warning
Yellow – Lose 5 minutes of recess
Pink – Lose a recess and problem solving
Orange – The above and a phone call to parents
Purple – Send to the principal’s office.
At the end of the day, each child will chart the color that is in his/her pocket. This will allow students to reflect on behavior, figure out ways to improve and set goals for the next day. The next day all pockets are back to blue for a fresh start. The chart goes home at the end of the week and you can have a chance to review your child’s behavior. We can work together to encourage your child to make positive choices.
MAP testing The students will also taking the national MAP test starting September 23. There will be four tests (math, reading, language and science) over a period of three weeks. It will solidify what areas your child needs to work on as well as be challenged. I will be meeting with each student discussing their results and allowing for them to create goals throughout the year based on these results and on-going progress through the year. We will discuss these results and goals at our conference.
Christian values are integrated throughout the day.
The new 2012 edition, Blest are We and Steps to Respect (an anti-bullying curriculum) are the two texts and programs used in fourth grade focusing on:
• The Church is One – The Holy Spirit guides us, Sacraments of Christian Initiation,
Love one another
• The Church is Holy – Forgiveness and healing, Reconciliation, Jesus teaches how
• The Church is Catholic – The Mass, Serving others, Openness• The Church is Apostolic – Continues the mission of the Apostles, Committed
through Sacraments, Commitments
• The Church Has a Mission to the World – Sign of the Kingdom of God, Called to
Serve, Witness for Justice and Peace, World Peace
• The Rosary & a Variety of Prayer Experiences
• Conflict and Resolution, Socialization Skills
• Anti-Bullying Program
• Scripture Study
• Community Services
Religion is also integrated throughout our day, with morning prayers, scripture
readings, intentions, meal blessings, closing prayers, as well as it is integrated within other subject areas. An example of this is in handwriting, when we write scripture verses in our best cursive penmanship or in science when we discuss how God created the world.
The Zaner-Bloser program is used along with words that will be integrated
throughout the curriculum. The list of spelling words will be obtained from the third grade high frequency list and vocabulary from different subject areas. Students will be learning in-depth about the phonics of the selected spelling list.
The Slingerland Method is used. Cursive will be taught at the beginning of this year and various assignments will be expected to written in cursive once all letters, capitals and lower case letters are taught.
Third graders will begin the year reading learning various reading skills such as learning about book genre, dictionary skills, sequencing, etc. This is followed by a unit the various genre of folktales. Starting in October, we will be reading a classroom book called: Molly’s Pilgrim. From there, we will be using non-fiction texts to read about immigration through Ellis Island. We will be having an “Immigration Day” in which your children will dress up like an assigned immigrant and pass through “Ellis Island.” This is set for Tuesday, November 15 in the afternoon. We need parent volunteers for this!!! There are various books that will be read in small literature circles and other large class groups. For instance, we will Bunnicula and The Adventures of Vin Fiz as a class. Later in the year, students will bring in to small literature circles. Reading and writing will also be integrated into the Science and Social Studies as well for content vocabulary and research.
Each student will be required to keep a reading log and read 15 minutes a day
Monday through Thursday. At the end of each month, students will present a book report. There will be various assignments as we go, which I will keep you informed in the newsletters.
Students will also learn in depth about nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prefixes, suffixes, homonyms, homographs and figures of speech. We will be integrating our grammar in writing as well. D.O.L. (Daily Oral Language) is used one to two times a week in the morning to focus in grammar.
The Six Traits of Writing, the Four Square pre-writing method, and multiple
organizers will be modeled and used throughout the year. The focus will be mainly on narrative (creative writing) and expository (factual paragraphs and essays) writing. Students will also learn about comparing and contrasting, poetry, outlines and research papers. Final drafts will be typed into Word or on a Power Point presentation. As writing assignments are due, I will let you know.
Third grade will be using the Go Math! textbook from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I will also pull material from many other sources. This year, special emphasis will be placed on multiplication and division and mastering these basic facts. It is essential that students know their addition and subtraction facts with accuracy and speed. Please assist them with this at home. This will help as we continue to build our knowledge base in math. When we begin our sections on multiplication and division, they will also be asked to memorize their facts up to the 12’s. They will be tested periodically for mastery of these facts. The following concepts will be covered this year:
• Addition and subtraction fluency
• Place value
• Multiplication and division facts through 12
• Problem solving
• Area and Perimeter
Instruction on the above concepts will be given Monday through Thursday, with homework each of these nights. Sometimes one of the night’s math homework will be to spend 15 minutes practicing math on IXL. Friday will be either “Fact Friday” or another type of game day, reinforcing the concepts taught that week. Your students will explore many different approaches to understanding concepts and solving problems. They will be asked not only to find answers, but to model the problem and explain how they got their answer. Catholic Identity and the Student Learning Expectations are an integral part of how we approach math. Ask your children how learning math can make help them to serve God and go forth to make a lasting difference in the world.
As a school we are moving our science program to meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). With that in mind, the following units will be covered throughout this year:
• Structures, Process and Interactions of Organisms
• Heredity Traits
• Force & Motion
At the beginning of the year, students are will be learning about map skills. They will also be learning about the regions of North America. There will be an “Ellis Island” experience in November which will lead family studies and presentations this fall and winter. This spring we will study about Native Americans.
Tentative Dates for the field trips:
1. Whatcom Farm Circle – November 19th or November 20th
2. Immigration Day – November 12th
3. Museum of Flight – March 26th all day
4. Whatcom Museum – May 20th in the morning
5. Marine Park – June 5th – most of the day
In third grade, students are graded using standards base assessment. They are not assigned a letter grade but are given a number that corresponds to an academic quality. The goal is for every student to meet standard. Standard numbers are not the equivalent of a letter grade. Listed below are the standard number and a description. Students learning expectations (SLE’s) refer to behavior, work habits and attitude. They will be listed on the front of the report card.
4- Exceeding Expectation- The student consistently and independently exceeds
3 – Meeting Expectation – The student frequently meets expectations with minimal assistance.
2.5- Beginning to Meet Expectations – The student is beginning to meet expectations with minimal assistance.
2-Working toward Expectation – The student occasionally meets expectation and
requires moderate assistance and redirection.
1-Below Expectation – The student rarely meets expectation and requires considerable assistance and redirection.
I am anticipating a great year in Third Grade. Thank you for your Commitment to our Catholic Community.
Paula A. Martin-Zender
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