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Little Town with Big Love

September 22, 2019

                                                                                                                          photo credit:@benstraussphotography


This week was a heavy week in third grade and our community.  As you know, Beth Crawford, mother of third graders Skyler and Taj, died on Wednesday after a long, courageous battle with cancer.


This brought up all kinds of feelings, thoughts and love for Skyler and Taj and even for Mira who knows first hand how it feels to lose a parent to cancer as her dad died in May.


While Mira opted out of the talk to the class, she did come back and later asked what we discussed.  We told her that we talked about ways to support the Crawfords and her as we know that this is very close to her heart as well.  And just like that, the student became the teacher as she told us things we can do and say to Skyler and Taj.  She told us that losing a parent is really really hard.  And Mira also bravely said, that you never know how special and important is until you don't have them anymore. Then, Cooper turned around to look at Mira, put his hand over his heart and whispered, "I'm sorry, Mira."


Mira sharing with us made us all understand a little bit more the gravity of the situation and what we can do to support one another at this time.  It was one of the most precious moments I've ever witnessed as a teacher and just a human in general.  


And with all the feels in the air, we decided a little time to connect via free choice felt best, so that's what we did.  After having some time to just BE with each other, we were able to decompress a bit and switch gears back to academics and laughing and learning together.


And with that sentiment, we will continue to support each other and laugh, learn and love this upcoming week and beyond.  


So, with that said, here we go:


Wait, before we jump in, here's a few things to jot down:


1. No school for students next Monday September 30th as we are having a district wide Professional Development day.


2.  Picture day is October 1st. This sounds far away, but is actually next Tuesday!  Gasp!


3. This week is Spirit Week!  There is optional dress up days.  I personally don't participate in any of them, but IF and only IF you and your child are into it, you may participate!  Here's the schedule:


Mon 9/23 PJ Day

Tues 9/24 Hawaii Day

Wed 9/25 Tie Dye 

Thurs 9/26 Sports Day

Fri  9/27 Titan Day (Blue and Gray)


Okay, now the academics:



We're finishing up Unit 1 this week and will be having an assessment on Tuesday and Wednesda next week.  We'll be delving more into elapse time, multiplication explorations and measuring mass introductions:


How you can help at home:

I will be sending home our Everyday Math Online usernames and passwords this week.  There are lots of fun games that connect/reinforce concepts learned in class.  The link for EDM online can be found here.  This is the student page on our website where all student online resources can be found.




We will be wrapping up our unit on visualization.  We will be practicing articulating our visualizations using our FIVE SENSES which is super fun!  We had a blast with our first try last week. We tried to get our descriptions as juicy as possible by discussing how the light was in the room, what we could smell, feel, taste and touch. It really helped us create that mental picture in our minds.  This is such an important skill as now more that ever, we are bombarded with images all the time. By practicing visualizing our reading, we are exercising that creativity/imagination muscle and we're gonna give it another great workout this week.


How you can help at home:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, simply read.  Find books that you love to read as a family and model what you're visualizing.  Go through the five senses and ask everyone to describe what they imagine the giant is smelling, tasting, feeling.  Family read time is so encouraged and counts as their "homework" reading.  


Quick Tip:  If you have a child who is struggling with reading and you are doing a family read of a challenging book, just let your child enjoy listening to you read fluently.  They can follow along or not, but don't feel like they have to try and read a paragraph or two in order for it to count as homework. We want all third graders, struggling or not, to be practicing their reading skills on books that are just right for them, not ones that are laborious and hard.  If they are insistent about practicing and it's too hard, read a sentence while they follow along and then have them read it. But it really is okay to just relax and enjoy a family read aloud.  The love of reading is the most important part.  The skills will come, but the love is the number one priority.



This week we are reviewing all of the fun free writes and idea lists  we've worked on so far this year and choosing a piece to develop, revise, edit and publish.  Enter the Writing Process.  We'll be taking each part of the process step by step and will have our first published piece completed by October Break!  Whoop!  


How you can help at home:

Ask your child what story they're going to write about.  Ask them to visualize what happened during part of that story and explain it with their senses like we do when we visualize in reading.  Remind your child that if they can't remember the exact details, it's okay to fill it in with what probably happened or what that person might have or probably said.  Sometimes third graders get hung up on the exact details and feel like they can't write the dialogue because they can't remember exactly what was said.  It's personal narratives, not investigative journalism, it's gonna be okay if we don't remember EXACTLY what went down.



As you may have heard, we are learning how to become Biomimicry Engineers!  We are so excited about this unit!  This engineering curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Students are learning about biomimicry and how engineers often imitate nature in the design of innovative new products.


They demonstrate their knowledge of biomimicry by practicing brainstorming and designing a new product based on what they know about animals and nature.Engineering ConnectionEngineers often use the natural world as inspiration for design. Biologically inspired designs include air- and sea-going vessels, navigation tools such as sonar and radar, medical imaging devices, biomedical technologies like prosthetics, and water and pollution treatment processes.


Biomimicry has resulted in many creative products, such as a materials inspired by the slick leaves of the lotus plant and its natural capacity to wash away dirt particles with every rainfall, and the Velcro hook-and-loop system inspired by the prickly plant burrs that stick to our clothes.  Pretty amazing, right?


How you can help at home:

Ask your child about what we did this week in science.  Having them become the teacher to you is very empowering!  


Okay, that's it for now.  Thank you so much for all that you do.  Thank you for raising these amazing children. 


Sending big love to you and yours today and everyday!




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