Life After Snow!

I hope that everyone has really enjoyed their week off and maybe even found some time to enjoy the snow despite the frigid temperatures! Miss Atkins has certainly been busy preparing upcoming lessons and is looking forward to seeing all of your bright faces again next week.  Here are a few things that you can expect.

  • We will wrap up our unit on Ancient Civilizations with several activities focused on Ancient Rome.  Students will explore aspects of daily life with a short video, mini-presentations, and some further reading.  We will complete our Roman knowledge chart and then take a quiz to finish the unit.
  • In Math, we are going to move into our time unit.  We will spend the first few days reviewing how to tell time, and move from hour and half-hour increments, into telling time to the minute.  By the end of the week, students will begin exploring elapsed time with real-life application.
  • Students are enjoying our read aloud, Jackie and Me.  In keeping with the baseball theme, our next short story study will be “Centerfield Ballhawk.”  Students will have many opportunities to practice reading skills with several short passages in a variety of genres.  Specifically, we will focus on synonyms and antonyms, as well as using details from the story to support our inferences and conclusions.
  • We will continue to work on our cursive handwriting and move forward with our word study groups and lessons.

Hope you all enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you next week!

From the Teacher’s Desk

The students have had a busy week with our multiplication drills, math benchmark, Greek mythology, and a look at some famous Olympians from the past.  They were also treated to a wonderful concert by the Pocahontas Middle School Music Department and we finished our most recent read aloud, Twice Upon a Time.  I was very pleased with the way in which the students followed this unique twist on a beloved fairy tale.  We saw a new side of Sleeping Beauty, told in a constant back-and-forth narration between the prince and princess.  Next week, in honor of Black History Month, we will begin our class reading and discussion of the historical fiction story, Jackie and Me.

Also coming up next week:

  • We will wind down our direct focus on multiplication and division foundations with several more activities before our Math Test on Thursday.
  • Students will take a final look at the expository non-fiction piece based on the Olympic Games, and show their comprehension on Tuesday.
  • We will spend a large amount of our time next week preparing for our Greco-Roman Enrichment.  Students will decorate t-shirts, create head wreaths, and design several other decorations for the room.  Much like our in-class research on Greece, the students will work through a guided reading activity about Ancient Rome and enjoy pictures and stories from this ancient civilization.
  • Students were extremely excited about our first few lessons in cursive.  Next week, we will continue adding letters to our repertoire as we slowly build our knowledge of lower case letters, grouped in similar formation patterns.
  • Next week also promises to be exciting with our school-wide Jump Rope for Heart event on Tuesday afternoon and our Valentine Exchange on Friday afternoon.

Don’t forget to check out the Grade Level Newsletter coming home in your child’s folder today for more information about upcoming events.  Also coming home are two half sheets from Mrs. Wright concerning Jump Rope for Heart and Gators on the Move.  Enjoy your weekend!

Math Fact Drills

We have been practicing with some drills this week to help the students build their speed with multiplication facts.  I have included the links (list on the right) to a website where you can print both multiplication and division problems just like the ones we use in class.  Each time you click “Create It,” a new worksheet is generated, so feel free to practice away!!

Happy Friday

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update and I apologize for not posting.  Here’s a little glimpse of what we have been up to and what you can expect in the next week.

We have finished our latest story, Balto, the Dog Who Saved Nome, and will be moving into a new story next week.  In conjunction with our Social Studies unit, students will read about the Olympics and the many athletes that make history every couple of years.  With the reading, we will do a little research and a mini project in class regarding some famous Olympians.

Today in math, the students started multiplying 2-digit by 1-digit numbers where neither factor ended in a zero.  Several students were really excited and were ready to keep going.  Don’t worry…we will continue this next step of multiplying for the next week.  We will also continue to practice facts for speed.  I am sure many of you are listening at home and perhaps worried that your child isn’t as fast as you would like.  This is still a somewhat new concept and it is one of those things the students just have to memorize.  My advice is to have them make flash cards, play games that require speed, and make use of online games.  As we work with bigger numbers, they will also see the need to know the facts quickly.

In Social Studies, we have been studying (through books, movies, and pictures) about the Ancient Greek Civilization.  Students should have come home this weekend with their interactive notebooks in which you can find two sets of fill in the blank notes and a knowledge chart complete with hand-drawn pictures.  They should be studying this information for a quiz scheduled for next Wednesday.  We will reinforce information about Ancient Greek culture with activities on Monday and Tuesday.  Please ask the students about how they competed in our mini-Olympics today!

Finally, in writing, we are wrapping up a unit about service animals.  We have talked in detail about creating main ideas and details that support them.  Students who have not already done so, will finish their service dog story early next week.  Our morning work grammar focus will be shifting.  Every two weeks, we will focus on a different aspect of grammar and have quizzes accordingly.  Next week, we start with commas.  I also hope to start working with cursive, hitting 1-2 letters a day over the next month.


  • Math Benchmark, February 5th-6th
  • Jump Rope for Heart, Wear RED Spirit Day, February 6th
  • Jump Rope for Heart Event, February 10th
  • Greece and Rome Enrichment, February 13th
  • Conferences, February 19th

We made it!

It’s been a bit of a different week with a visit from Young Scientist, safety drill practice, an ice day, and a 2-hour delay.  The students have managed nicely, and seemed to respond well to taking a few steps back to regroup and talk about expectations as we close out the first half of third grade.  As a whole, we talked about responsibility picking up and students understanding that we will do activities in class, but sometimes they will have to do the memorizing at home.  Please encourage them to review at least one subject at home each evening that may not have specific homework attached.  With that in mind, please know that I am very proud of the work they are doing, especially as we continue expanding their reading comprehension and mathematical knowledge.  Here’s a look at today’s red folder and the upcoming week.

Coming Home Today

  • The latest Gator Gab from our admin team is on a green sheet of paper.  Please check it out for current info coming from the office.
  • A very colorful packet of information is coming home about Jump Rope for Heart.  Students watched a promotional video earlier this week in class, and now you can catch all the details about this fun event coming February 3.  Just ask them about the ducks!
  • There are also two rec-ball flyers and the usual stack of graded papers.

Looking Forward

  • We will enjoy another 4-day week, with Monday’s holiday.
  • In reading, we will work through stations related to our latest story, Balto, the Dog Who Saved Nome.  Students should expect to work on vocabulary extensions and use of resource books.  A comprehension quiz will be given at the end of next week.
  • After this week’s science quiz, I decided to take a couple more days to review the information and give the students one more week to really study the vocabulary and diagrams.  We will not spend any more time in class, other than to take a test on Thursday.  Students have the information in their science journals and inside the foldables we made together in class.
  • With the changes in our schedule, we did not start our Ancient Civilizations unit just yet, but have no fear.  It is still coming.  We will begin the week with a brief review of civilizations covered last year and then move into the fun that is Greece and Rome.
  • You may have noticed there were no new word study lists distributed.  The next list will come home Wednesday.
  • Students have proven that they understand the concepts of multiplication and they can figure out the problems using arrays, skip counting, and other pictures.  Now, we want to learn the facts for speed.  Please review with them nightly.  I will do several activities over the next week to keep the students practicing, but they need to be reviewing at home to increase their recall speed.  We will keep moving forward in math while also taking a portion of each day’s time to practice facts.

Welcome Back!

Well, it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me.  I trust that each of you enjoyed the long-awaited winter break, but I’m sure many of you were ready to get back into the normal routine of school.  The students have come back refreshed and with a great energy to finish out our first semester.  I have not shied away from asking the children to think this week.  We have eased our way back into the curriculum with a refresher on several reading strategies that students often encounter when responding to comprehension questions.  Included in these lessons were activities dealing with sequencing, making predictions, identifying cause and effect, and distinguishing between fact and opinion.  Our current writing unit has students looking at specific descriptions, the art of organizing main ideas and details, and the use of word referents as we read about different service animals.  In science this week, students have done a nice job looking at earth cycles that explain why we experience day and night, the four seasons, and the apparent change of the moon’s shape.  All in all, I believe the children have enjoyed the first week back and I look forward to continued excitement in our last two weeks of the 2nd quarter.

Coming home today:

  • There is a flyer from the PTA concerning an upcoming author visit and how you can order copies of her books.
  • The blue sheet is the January Newsletter from the third grade team.
  • The half-sheet of yellow paper details information from Mrs. Wright about the upcoming Jump Rope for Heart event.

Looking ahead to next week:

  • In Writing, we will continue looking at pieces that focus on service animals.  Students will complete the Empowering Writers pillar model for writing, and then work on creating their own piece about a particular service dog.  I will be looking for details and a lack of repeated words in particular.  Students have also picked back up with their word study lists.  They should be working throughout the week on various homework assignments in order to prepare them for their weekly tests on Tuesday.
  • Our Reading unit will also center around service animals as we read about the actions of Balto the famous Alaskan Husky known for delivering medicine to Nome, Alaska on a very dangerous, but important night.  We will review several of the strategies discussed this past week as we momentarily move back into our reading textbook for this short story.
  • In Math, we will round out our look at the last two factors and then rev up our practice and manipulation of these numbers.  Students should be practicing facts at home every night to increase their speed knowledge for further mathematical success.  We will talk more about how division is multiplication’s inverse operation.  As there are different levels of comfortability with these concepts already, there will be opportunities for students to practice and expand where they need it focus individually.
  • Students have been told about a quiz on Tuesday in Science that will cover the Earth Cycles we have discussed this week.  They should be familiar with vocabulary such as axis, orbit, rotation, revolution, and tilt.  We have completed several cloze passages and diagrams to help students study.  Then, we will move into another anticipated third grade favorite – our Social Studies unit on Greece and Rome.

We can do it!

There is only one more week before the highly anticipated winter break!  What does that mean?  We had a cleaning party!  Today the students were very helpful in cleaning many of the surfaces we touch each day.  They wiped down their desks, the common tables, the door handles, etc. in our effort to cut back on germs spreading.  We want to keep everyone healthy and in class!  It is so important for students to be here everyday so they can be a part of the conversations and the hands-on activities that supplement their notes and worksheets.

This past week was a fun beginning to the concepts of multiplication.  We have illustrated five ways to show multiplication and the students showed a great eagerness to practice making arrays, do some skip counting, and even fill in a few multiplication tables.  I have asked them to review the easy ones (0, 1, 2, 10, 11) and their rules this weekend.  We also watched a short BrainPop video on Cesar Chaved and discussed his work for better working conditions for migrant workers in the early to mid 1900s.  We have concluded our first round of novel studies with the rest of third grade, which many students really seemed to favor.  We hope to do this again in the second semester, but for now we will return to homerooms and a couple of short stories in our reading book.

Coming up next week:

  • In math, we will keep building the students’ multiplication foundation.  We will add the 3, 4, and 5 tables to our repertoire as we circle back around and practice more with the strategies we learned this week.  Students will take a concept quiz on Wednesday to show what they know.
  • Social Studies will continue with more reading about Famous Americans.  We will spend more time learning about Eleanor Roosevelt and Thurgood Marshall early in the week.  Students will then take a Famous American test on Thursday.
  • Our reading next week will focus on identifying main ideas and details as well as relating to characters as we read several seasonal texts. Students can expect to read several short stories throughout the week and use the text to support their answers to comprehension questions.
  • We will take a word study quiz on Tuesday, but there will be no new words until we come back in January.  We will continue talking about word referents and also look at suspense as the students create a snowy tale.
  • FRIDAY FUNDAY – We will have the Jingle Bell Run and Holiday Sing Along next Friday morning from 9:00-10:00.  Third graders are scheduled to sing in the MPR starting at 9:00 am and then enjoy jingling around the track at 9:30 am.  That afternoon, we will enjoy our class enrichment complete with a snowball fight, book exchange, and some yummy treats!  

Looking forward to a great week with the kiddos!