This will be a year filled with many new experiences for your child. Each day we will be actively engaged in learning. It won’t be long until you hear your child talking about “The Daily Three.” The Daily Three is a way of structuring the reading block so every student is independently engaged in meaningful literacy tasks. These research based tasks are ones that will have the biggest impact on student reading achievement, as well as help foster children who love to read and write. Students receive explicit whole group instruction and then are given independent practice time to read while I provide focused, intense instruction to individuals and small groups of students.
When it is up and running smoothly, students will be engaged in the Daily Three, which are comprised of:
Read to Self
Read to Someone
There are very specific behavior expectations that go with each Daily 3 component. We will spend our first weeks working intensely on building our reading stamina, learning the behaviors of the Daily 3 and fostering our classroom community. I will also spend time learning about your child’s strengths and greatest needs as a reader in order to best plan for each student’s instruction. Students will be assessed by Mrs. Ross, the resource teacher, and myself. We willing be using a variety of assessments such as, Aimsweb and Fountas & Pinnell .
One thing you’ll notice that may be a change for you is a direct decrease in the number of worksheets your child brings home. While worksheets keep students busy, they don’t really result in the high level of learning I want for your child. Instead, your child will be taught to select “Good Fit Books” or books they can read, understand and are interested in, which they will read during Daily 3. They will be spending most of their time actually reading, which research supports as the number one way to improve reading. I anticipate the motivation and enjoyment of reading will skyrocket when this gift of choosing their own books is accompanied by extended practice and specific reading instruction for each individual child.
As you can see, I am excited about giving your child the opportunity to be involved in a structure that will have a positive effect on their education.
Our classroom has a Literacy CAFE Menu posted that contains strategies
good readers use when reading. CAFE is an acronym for the four major components of reading. They are:
C for Comprehension
A for Accuracy
F for Fluency
E for Expanding Vocabulary
The children will learn reading strategies within each category. These strategies will become tools for the children to use to help themselves become better readers and writers. I will keep you informed when new strategies are introduced to the whole class through our school website. These communications will give you clear directions as to how to reinforce these concepts when you read with your child at home.
Students will be working on writing daily. We Will begins with a mini-lesson that teaches a new strategy. I will be using mentor texts specific to the unit or genre being studied or with a shared writing piece that the class is working on together. Students will invest more time in rehearsal for writing, collecting lots of quick drafts of possible stories in notebook entries, then selecting just one of these to put through the writing process, resulting in publication. The students will do units of study on Crafting True Stories (narrative), The Art of Information Writing (information), Changing the World (opinion writing), and Once Upon a Time (narrative). Most time will be spent on types of narrative writing since that is the focus on the Aspire testing.
Words Their Way Spelling
The main benefit of Words Their Way is that it differentiates instruction; allowing each child to work at his or her instructional level. Students have been given an initial spelling inventory to help guide me in placing each student into a group of words. Students will be assigned a different group of words each week. Words Their Way focuses less on memorization and more on allowing students to work with words to learn the spelling pattern. I will be sending home another letter when we begin spelling to further explain this program.
The students will begin an introduction to cursive in third grade and learn the proper formation and size of both upper and lower case letters. The workbook we will be using is “Zaner-Bloser Handwriting.” The goal of Zaner-Bloser Handwriting is to teach students to write legibly. As the students work through the pages of the book, they will learn to write letters, words, and sentences that are legible to both writers and readers. By learning and applying the four Keys to Legibility-shape, size, space, and slant-the students will evaluate their writing and discover techniques to help them improve and refine their writing skills. Manuscript needs to be mastered.
We will be using the Math in Focus Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish series this year. Following are a few other things you need to know about what we do.
Students who enter third grade should already know addition and subtraction facts to 18.
Students will have a hardcover book and a workbook.
This is a new program so learning may be difficult at times and that is okay.
Each week we will have a sprint which assesses math fact mastery. It is imperative that your child knows these facts. This can only happen if time is spent each night studying. Third graders will be assessed on automaticity.
The vocabulary for each chapter can be found at the beginning of each lesson in the yellow box. It is also highlighted on pages throughout the chapter. Knowing math vocabulary is essential to success in math.
We will be starting multiplication shortly. Students are expected to know multiplication facts by the time they leave third grade.
You may use the IXL website this year for math and language arts practice. More information will follow regarding this adaptive learning tool.
We use the Loyola Press Christ Our Life series. Our textbook We Believe presents the main truths Catholics believe and express in the Apostles’ Creed. Throughout this year the children will become familiar with the mysteries of faith professed in that creed. By the end of the year all students should be able to recite the creed from memory and understand the words they recite. In addition to learning the creed third graders will:
become familiar with how to locate stories in the Bible
learn the mysteries of the rosary
review procedures for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation
become familiar with the lives of many saints
attend weekly Mass
Here are some additional features of our text which I would like to call your attention to.
There is a letter home to begin every unit of our book. This letter explains what the focus of the unit is.
Building Family Faith, which appears on the Chapter Review page, offers ideas and activities to reinforce learning and involves the family. A parent signature will be required before the test is given on the Chapter. This request for your signature alerts you to that test.
ChristOurLife.org offers online support, including chapter reviews for the children to test their knowledge.
In social studies, students will focus on communities around us in greater detail. Students learn about many different types of communities, including suburban, urban, and rural. Students will also learn about our country’s geography-not just where places are but how we affect the places we live in. We will also learn about the history of special communities, with an emphasis on the early history of the United States. Third grades will begin to learn about the people and government within our communities. Students will learn about workers in our communities and how they save, spend, and earn money.
Geography will be another main focus throughout the year. Along with these concepts, students will be working with a wide variety of maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, and biographies.
In science, students will focus on three main fields of science: Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth/Space Science. Life Science will cover the basic structure and function of plants and animals, the life cycles and behaviors of organisms, and the relationships among living things and their environment. Physical Science will focus on the properties of matter and its changes. Earth/Space Science will look the characteristics of weather, air, and atmosphere, as well as the changes in earth’s surface. In addition, students will also be taught how to read diagrams and interpret models that correspond to the scientific concepts being presented throughout the year.
Studying should only be a review at home. The internet resource correlated to this program offers an online copy of the textbook, chapter games, and quizzes. The textbook we are using is “Science Fusion: Energy for Science.”