Outstanding October!

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Upcoming Events:

Nov. 7- Mystery Theater: Families invited at 2:30 in AJA Library

Nov. 10 – No School – Professional Development

Nov. 20-24- No School- Thanksgiving Break

Third grade had an outstanding October! The class went on their first field trip of the year to the Austin Zoo. There they learned about animal adaptations, made a food web, and saw lots of cool animals! Continue reading to learn more about what third grade did in October.

Reading and writing were closely integrated this month as the class delved into the mystery genre. First, I read the class several mystery stories and we identified elements of the genre. Third graders also learned key mystery vocabulary like: clues, detectives, motive, suspense, suspicion, evidence, victim, suspects, etc. As a class, students also read two mystery chapter books, Third Grade Detectives and Encyclopedia Brown. They were also able to read and work independently in ‘book clubs’ where students read chosen books and responded to mysteries. Each student also had a chance to be a ‘book chat leader’ where he/she lead a small group through a discussion of a given chapter. Students then applied of their knowledge of the mystery genre by writing a mysteries of their own. In addition to all of this, the class also helped to write two short skits, which help them to practice fluency and expression in reading. Be sure to attend the Mystery Theater event on Tuesday, Nov. 7th at 2:30 in the library to see the skits and hear the stories!

The major emphasis in math this month was on multiplication. Learning the basic multiplication facts 0-12 is a huge part of third grade. So far, third graders have learned the X0-6 facts as well as the X10. The class will continue on with the 7s, 8s, 9s, 11s, and 12s and eventually have a multiplication final with mixed facts. I was glad to hear during student led conferences that many students find the multiplication songs that we sing to be extremely helpful. Third graders also reviewed building arrays and learned several strategies for multiplying. Students also learned to round numbers to the nearest ten or hundred in order to find the estimate. They reviewed their addition and subtraction regrouping skills which is another vital skill in third grade. An emphasis was also placed on explaining their mathematical reasoning in a written response. Students have made great gains in learning this new and valuable skill. We will continue to work on this as the year continues.

Science has been an exciting subject this month! The class started a new project about inherited traits using fast-growing plants. This is part of a curriculum called ‘Project Lead the Way,’ and includes challenging components. Students learned about inherited vs. learned traits. They learned about variations within traits, dominant vs. recessive genes, and genotypes. These tough vocabulary words are presented in a kid-friendly way that students respond to. Our plants have just started growing (see photo below). Once they grow a little bit more, we can continue the project and delve deeper into this fascinating subject. Third graders are also learning about animal adaptations. At the Austin Zoo, students got to view many live animals with examples of adaptations. They also made a food web to visualize how animals are connected. As we continue into November and December, students will deepen their knowledge of these subjects. They will also begin a project on endangered species, which they have already begun working on in technology.