April 13th

A Video of our Week

We had a busy week our first week back from spring break (click the link above for a snapshot of our activities). We had two presentations on animals. One presentation was on endangered species and another from John Ball Zoo on animal habitats. Both support our science, reading, and writing units on living things.

We also had our SheepShank Sam presentation, learning about the early lumbering business. So fun!

In math we did have time to begin our measurement unit. Telling time on analog clocks and elapsed time were our focus. These are challenging  concepts for 3rd graders. Having an analog clock, rather than all digital, in your home/child’s bedroom can help your child practice these skills.

In reading, students began researching their second animal. This animal will be the focus of our STEM and art project that we present at John Ball Zoo in May. Our next unit in writing will also focus on learning strategies to create an informational book on their animal.

Thank you for another wonderful week with your child! What a great group!  😊

March 23

We have been busy this week with fractions, fairy tales, research clubs, and gravity investigations!

By spring break we will have finished our 2nd math unit on fractions. We will also be finishing our science unit on Force and Motion. Students are working in pairs or trios to complete an electronic book, called Book Creator, to show their learning in this unit. Once these are complete, we will post them on Seesaw.

In writing, students are working on their final copies of their fairy tales. We have recently worked on ways fairy tales end and making sure our scenes include a balance of action, dialogue, and some figurative language.

In reading, each student voted on an animal to research. Ask your child which group he or she is in. We practiced identifying subtopics across several books, choosing one subtopic to research, and synthesizing information across texts.

Below are some pictures of our research groups in action. For March is Reading Month, we read in a different place–the Collaboration Studio.

Also with iPads going home again, several boys and girls are forgetting to charge their iPads at night, making them difficult to use at school. A few have left them at home as well. I’m requesting your help in making sure they return each day charged–especially with the need to complete the science books on them. Thank you for your help with this!

Have a great first weekend of SPRING!


March 9

Our highlight this week was science, as we explored which material makes the best ice skates. We tested 5 different materials (foam, bubble wrap, aluminum foil, wax paper, and magazine pages) to determine which material created the least amount of friction. Below our a few photos of our investigation.

In writing, we used Seesaw to storytell our fractured fairy tale ideas. We also began to write our fairy tales, using a narration technique called the “backstory” to introduce our characters. In this unit, we are working more in depth on paragraphing, dialogue, figurative language, and showing the passing of time.

In reading, we compared and contrasted 2 characters (their traits, problems, and reactions to problems). We took part in our first debate in our book club groups, involving characters from our books. Students are learning to incorporate evidence to justify their opinions. We also explored theme and lessons to stories. Next week we will wrap up our study of characters and prepare for a nonfiction unit in reading workshop.

In math, we reviewed and took a test on our first fraction topic! We are ready to begin our 2nd, more in-depth, topic on fractions. We are continuing to memorize and master our multiplication facts, which will make our division mad minutes easier.

Have a great week!

March 1st

Thank you for attending conferences! I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with each of you.

We ended out half days celebrating the conclusion of our mentor text, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. Thank you to everyone who was able to send in a dog picture. I can say that the students’ reactions were priceless. I loved it!

Today we made a “Mistake Tree”–ask your child about it. We also sampled Dump Punch, Littmus Lozenges, Pickles, Winn-Dixie treats, egg-salad sandwiches, and peanut-butter sandwiches. I was surprised by the number of boys and girls who liked egg salad! Wonderful!

Here are a few pictures:

T. did not care for “Dump Punch”!

This is our “Mistake Tree”. Bottles hang with a mistake we have made written on each one.

February 16

Happy Sunny Friday!

We had a busy 5-day week! In math, we took our test on perimeter of shapes, which included area from a previous unit. Math tests went home today. They all did a FANTASTIC job on such a tricky test!! 🙂 We started our unit on two-step problem solving. The homework may be causing a bit of frustration, and this is typically a difficult unit. Trying to determine which operations to use can be challenging at this age. We are working on asking: “What do we know from the problem?” and “What are we trying to find?”.  Drawing bar diagrams has been a helpful tool for many students. We will continue to practice solving different problems at the start of next week, and then take our test. We continue to work on mastering our multiplication facts. Please encourage your child to practice the Timed Test app in the evenings. It is set for the same time they have in class, and they know how to set it up for their current fact challenge.

In reading, we started book clubs this week. I am reading Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. As we study the main character, Opal, students practice our daily strategy in their own books. They are jotting their thoughts and meeting with their groups to discuss their group book. Listening to others and commenting on each other’s jots are additional skills we are improving. 🙂

February is Black History Month. For our social studies, we are currently learning about slavery and the Underground Railroad. We are keeping an ongoing timeline of events and learning about many important people. We will also be focusing on the Civil Rights Movement.

Next week we begin our science unit on Force and Motion and our writing unit on fairytales.

Thank you to all who contributed to our Valentine/Michigan celebration!!


  • 2/15 – Parent-teacher conference sign up link sent out
  • 2/26 – Honors choir concert
  • 2/28 – Parent-teacher conferences
  • 3/1 – Parent-teacher conferences

Have a wonderful weekend!

Happy February! Brrr!

If you have next Monday and Tuesday off with your child, I hope you enjoy a long weekend together! Please look for an email from me soon about our live broadcasting while we present our opinion speeches next Thursday and Friday. You can tune in and watch by clicking on the YouTube link that I will be sending out. If you are unable to tune in for the live version, the link will be available to watch the presentations as a recording. I’ll also send out a list of students in the order of their presentations. We are very excited!!

This week has been busy with polishing up our opinion speeches and writing our final versions. We have worked hard on writing with a structure, examples, transition words, talking to our audience and paragraphing.

In math, we have been tackling some touch concepts. We are finding perimeter of quadrilaterals, but also comparing the perimeters to areas. When students are creating shapes with a given perimeter, then calculating and comparing areas, it gets tricky. Today, students seemed to leave with a much stronger understanding of this process. We are also continuing to master our multiplication facts. Most students are up to the X5 and X6 facts. If your child is not there yet, practice practice!! In class we talk about knowing our facts without stopping to do our count bys. Memorization is now the expectation.

We celebrated Michigan’s 181st birthday this week by learning about how Michigan became a state after being part of the Northwest Territory and a scuffle called the Toledo War. Ask your child how Michigan came to be known as the “Wolverines”. We continue to add activities to our Michigan Books, which I will have to show you at conference time.

In reading, we started a new unit. This is our Character Unit and revolves around the characters in our fiction stories. The mentor text that I am reading from to model strategies is Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. This week we focused on noticing what our characters SAY and what they DO. This helps us determine a character trait, which can help us develop a big idea or theory about our characters. Later in this unit, students will have an opportunity to discuss and debate characters in book clubs.

Some important upcoming dates:

  • 2/5 & 2/6 – No school, mid-winter break
  • 2/15 – Parent-teacher conference sign up link sent out
  • 2/26 – Honors choir concert
  • 2/28 – Parent-teacher conferences
  • 3/1 – Parent-teacher conferences

Have a wonderful weekend!

January 19th

Hello Families,

If you missed the MLK video this week, the link is below. I slowed it down so it is easier to watch and read.  🙂

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 6 Words


This week in math we have been working on quadrilaterals and learning about the “attributes” of each quadrilateral. Our week has been filled with vocabulary such as: polygons, parallel sides, convex angles, concave angles, as well as all the quadrilateral names. Students are creating a book of quadrilaterals using their iPads. When we finish, we will display them on Seesaw. Next week we will take our test and begin our next topic on finding perimeter of shapes.

In reading, we completed our unit on nonfiction reading. We learned strategies to help us retell narrative nonfiction–especially biographies, and looked for the life lesson we can learn from that person. Our next unit will be using fiction, where we focus on characters. Students will have the opportunity to read in book clubs as well.  I also want to announce that EVERY child has completed the Read Around Michigan Challenge!!!! Yay!! I am so very impressed that it is January and every child has completed the loop. All are continuing on the journey for a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th loop! Soon, I will hold a small celebration to honor all the hard work that went into reaching this goal. We will be having treats all made in Michigan of course!

In our writing, we drafted our introductions to our persuasive speeches and used checklists to help edit and revise our writing. Next week we will be drafting our conclusions and writing our final copies for presenting.

This week we learned about the early French explorers who came to Michigan. We also learned about the battle between the French and British called, “The French and Indian War”. Michigan history has been fascinating for our class.

Today we were able to visit the 4th grade arcade and play many of their self-designed and self-made games using concepts of simple machines. The 3rd graders will have this opportunity next year!

We have started our district assessments in both reading and math. I will be using this information to help me determine how to best help your child continue to grow the remainder of 3rd grade. The boys and girls have worked hard and have had a positive attitude about testing times!


Have a wonderful weekend!

Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday time with friends and family was relaxing and wonderful!

It was a SHORT and COLD week, but it was so good to be back into our routine!

We started a new math topic, and because it is a short one, we will finish it up next week! We are learning to use open number lines, the associative property, the distributive property, and the “zero trick” to multiply numbers by multiples of 10. Ask your child what it means to decompose a number!

In reading, we began our 2nd bend in our nonfiction reading. We moved from reading informational books on specific topics, to reading narrative nonfiction–specifically biographies. During our workshop time, we are  learning strategies to help us become better narrative nonfiction readers.

In our writing, we revisited our opinion writing that we began before vacation. This week we really tried to add voice to our writing by including specific vocabulary to “talk to our audience”. We are also working on s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g our examples out to be more detailed for our audience.

Today we set a new goal that we hope to achieve each week for the next 6 weeks. You can see your child’s goal and progress on Seesaw. We also rolled the dice to create “Growth Mindset Teams”, which will begin next week. They have fun, silly winter names, and will work within their groups to encourage positive thinking, responsibility, and all around being good role models. These teams will be changed periodically to give students the opportunity and experience to work with different classmates.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Week of December 4th

As of now, I do not have anyone able to organize a holiday party on the 20th for our class. We may end up having a low-key afternoon with holiday crafts and snacks. If someone is able to plan a party, please let me know by this Wednesday. Otherwise, I will be sending out a Sign-Up Genius for a few snacks. Thank you!

We wrapped up a tough topic/unit in math last week focusing on finding area of both regular and irregular shapes. We also revisited the distributive property in this topic. Our tests are becoming more time consuming for students to take as the concepts become more advanced and multi-step. Previously, students took a 2nd test after our test on the iPad, if they scored below 80%. Now, after reviewing the iPad test together, students may redo the problems missed by completing those same numbers/same concepts on the 2nd test. This helps shorten our time on testing by only having students work on the kinds of problems they missed, instead of the entire test again. If you have any questions, please let me know. Tests will go home Monday.

In writing, we continued to brainstorm topics for our opinion speeches and write “fast drafts” in our writer’s notebook. We are learning how to write our opinion statement boldly and how to talk to our audience directly.

In our reading, we learned to revise our main idea as we learn more within a section, taught others as we became experts, and set goals for improving our nonfiction skills. We had a great time cutting out NF text features on “surgery day” as well!

In our social studies, we are learning about the first Europeans (French) to arrive in Michigan and the reasons that they came. Ask your child about what was learned!

Friday, we took part in The Hour of Code. It is a global movement by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming. It was amazing how quickly the 3rd graders picked up on how to complete the coding activities. They may continue to explore coding on any device by visiting hourofcode.com

Here are a few photos of our coding expertise: 🙂









Surgery–Finding Text Features!!

Hello Families,

Today we had a blast pretending to be surgeons during a portion of our Reading Workshop. With the sound of a heart beating over the speakers, each student pretended to operate on several magazines. They were in search of text features that they could transfer to their “patient”. We used  a lot of glue on our patients!

Here are some photos of our surgical teams. Can you recognize your child?