30 For 3rd Launches

The Third Grade team encourages students to take off with reading through our 30 For 3rd book challenge. Boys and girls are provided with an official tracking folder, which includes spaces to note which books they have read and what genre they represent. Reading a variety of genres is emphasized, but all book selections are in the students' hands. This is not a competition. There are no treats or trophies handed out, nor are there consequences if a student does not read 30 books over the course of the year. We simply want to promote excitement over reading for reading's sake. Please join us in guiding students in choosing books of interest to them. Feel free to join your child with your own 30 book challenge. Tracking folders can be provided to interested parents, too. Have fun reading!

30 for 3rd – Is Your Child Up For the Challenge?

https://youtu.be/SlIIDufdakA Keep in mind, the books chosen for this challenge should be "just right!"

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Every year many parents ask, “How can I help my child choose books that he or she can read?” There is a very simple way to help your child choose good fit books. It is called IPICK. IPICK is an acronym that stands for: I choose books to read, Purpose, Interest, Comprehend, and Know the words. Here are some easy steps that you and your child can follow in order to choose good fit books:

1. Have your child choose a book. This is the first I in IPICK which means “I choose books to read”.

2. Ask your child, “What is your purpose for choosing this book?” You may also want to ask, “Is it for fun or to learn something?”. This is the P in IPICK which means purpose.

3. Ask your child, “Is this a book you are interested in?” This is the second I, which means interest.

4. Have your child read a page of the book. After your child reads the page, ask your child, “Who did you read about and what did they do?”. This is the C in IPICK which stands for Comprehend. If it is a good fit book your child should be able to answer your question.

5. Have your child read another page (or use the same page) and ask, “Did you know the words?”. This is the K in IPICK which stands for know the words. Your child should know all or almost all of the words in order for it to be a good fit book.

Going through the steps of choosing a good fit book should only take a couple minutes. It has been my experience that many children can easily choose good fit books once they have mastered the process of IPICK. Other children may need more guidance from mom or dad as they choose good fit books. This is an ongoing process that we will continue to learn and practice at school.

September 20, 2015

30 Book Challenge: Check out the 30 Book Challenge Page. Please help your child remember to turn in their folder each Friday. Field Trip Notice:

Our first 3rd grade field trip will be right in our own backyard.  As a wrap up to our Native American Regions social studies unit, Spirit of the Eagle Presentation will take place near our kindergarten playground on Tuesday, September 29th

To be sure your child can participate, please send a check made out to Avoca School District 37 in the amount of $9.00 by Friday, September 25th. 

Social Studies:

Many different Native American groups lived in North America before Europeans began to settle this land.  Last week the children learned about the Plains region from Ms. Stefan.  At the completion of this unit, students will have a deep understanding of how the environment affected the culture and lifestyle of Native American tribes.

Word Study:

The children have been practicing our classroom and homework routines for word work. They will start interacting/learning with their own personal word group next week.


The children have been practicing our reading center routines, as I've met with individual children to listen and learn about them as reader. Next, week I will start flexible groups for reading instruction.


This week we will be starting the 3rd investigation of Unit 8 with a focus on describing, analyzing, and comparing strategies for adding and subtracting whole numbers.


We will be starting our science unit, Our Changing Earth, within the classroom soon to extend on Mrs. Johnson's work. This unit focuses on geology. Specifically, students study the four main layers of the Earth, the composition of rocks, and the rock cycle.

Check out pictures taken by my student photographers throughout the week.

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English Homework

Week of Sept 21 - 25

Monday:  Summary of "The Wise Old Woman" due for pds 8 and 9

Tuesday:  Lit circle hmwk #4 due; summary of "The Wise Old Woman" due for pds 1 & 4

Wednesday:   No School

Thursday:  Lit Circle homework #5 & RC #2 due


 Reading Counts:  Wed, Sept, 16 RC #2:  Fiction; Wed, Sept 30, RC#3 Info Text book

Science: Seed Investigations

This week Avoca West second graders traveled to the Botanic Gardens to learn about seed dispersal.  They investigated different types of seeds and determined how these seeds would best travel.  We learned that plants and animals are interdependent.  Ask your student, “Why is seed dispersal important for the survival of different plants?”.  In class this week, we did a seed search in different types of food.  The students were surprised to see so many seeds in a pomegranate.  They made the connection that the acorn squash’s seeds are similar a pumpkin’s seeds.  We compared seeds from an avocado, cantaloupe, grapes, lemon, lime, pomegranate, pear, apple, acorn squash, green pepper, and clementine.  Students came up with a plan to count the seeds in a cooperative way.  Our second grade scientists developed their observation skills this week!

Please enjoy the slide show of pictures from our different learning activities. 

Science Fun!

Math News of the Week

This was an extremely short week in math, with meetings only on Tuesday and Thursday. We spent our mornings MAP testing the other two days. We are working on factors, and in particular how to find combinations of 3 or more factors that we can multiply to get a number.  For example:

One factor pair for 72 is 36 x 2.

You can break apart the 36 into 6 x 6.

Therefore: 6 x 6 x 2=72  and 2 x 3 x 6 x 2 = 72

I will be sending individual emails to parents and guardians about math facts practice.  About half the class has already tested out of our multiplication facts test by completing 100 problems in less than 5 minutes.  Some have done the same with our division facts.  Our goal for those who haven't reached this speed is to improve every week!

Homeroom News of the Week!

This was a real "beginning of school" week with testing and special events. Next week we'll see our long-term schedule begin in earnest! We took two MAP tests this week, math and reading. Students were extraordinary in their efforts and endurance. Some will be finishing up at the beginning of next week. After all students finish, I'll be giving a prize book to anyone who took over an hour for either of the tests, which I hope will encourage everyone to take their time! For those unfamiliar with MAP, it is a "leveling" test in which each question a student answers determines the nature of the next question.  If a student answers a question correctly, the next question is harder.  If a student answers incorrectly, the next question is easier.  It is different from other tests because students cannot go back to correct their work, so taking your time on each question is an essential skill for success. We had an exciting field trip to Marie Murphy to hear Eliot Schrefer, an author, speak.  In spite of the heat and crowding in the room, our students were wonderful and enjoyed hearing about Bonobos and seeing videos of the author with his ape friends.  Thanks to Marie Murphy for hosting us! We continued our science rotation with millipedes in Mrs. Nanus' room. This new science unit is fascinating, filled with opportunity to observe different animals with focus and detail. Ask your child how ants, millipedes and crabs respond to light and sound. What do they have in common? What is different? Friday was interrupted when I had to leave unexpectedly, so I don't have photographs or reports from the class this week. We'll catch up next week with our student reporters.

Early September News

In math we started a new activity called “question of the day”. Our most recent question was “Are you the oldest child in your family?” This question is posted on our Promethean Board with a column for yes and a column for no. Each child drags his or her name to the correct column with the special Promethean Board pen. We found out that more children in our class were not the oldest child in their family.

We played a game with our attribute blocks used a deck of cards marked with specific colors, shapes, or sizes. If a card showing a triangle is chosen then the children must find a triangle. If the card says “red” a red piece is chosen. Play continues until all cards have been drawn. We also played this game by choosing two cards at once, for instance the cards “red” and “thick” might be chosen and the children have to find a piece with both of these attributes.

We continued the sorting theme by sorting our classmates. We looked for attributes we could sort by such as “tie shoes” and “no tie shoes”, and “shorts” and “no shorts” and separated our class into these groups. I added another level to this sorting activity by separating the children into two groups without telling them what I was sorting by. They had to look at all of the children in each group and see what was different. . These kind of math challenges are a wonderful part of our math program.

We began our own counting books by first reading the book Anno’s Counting Book. This book goes from zero to twelve. The children were surprised by the zero page and we had a discussion about the meaning of zero. Each page in this book has many examples of the number. For instance on the four page there are four houses, trees, people, flowers, and many other things in a scenic picture. This is a great book to check out of the library and look at with your child, as there is so much to see and count on each page. A copy of the book is in our school library.

After reading this the children received their own counting book with a page for each of zero through twelve. They were then asked to represent the number on the page by drawing that many items.  They also were asked to color in the correct amount of cubes in a column of cubes on the page. They are really enjoying working on their counting books. Making these books helps the children to understand the concept of how many a number actually represents. The game “Grab and Count” was yet another way to practice accurate counting. In this game each child grabs a handful of plastic counters and then counts how many he/she has and draws a representation of this on paper. All of these activities help the children learn to count carefully and accurately, a very important basic building block for future math success.

Of course, math is not our only subject. In Language Arts we learned the letters “m”, “s” and “r” and started to learn to recognize their sounds at the beginning and end of a word.  We were introduced to the sight words “I” and “a”. We started small reading groups this week and the children did very well.

We have also begun to learn about rhyming.  The ability to rhyme is a very important skill. It is listed as one of the four major indicators of reading success by the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. There are many children’s books that rhyme, such as most Dr. Suess books. Try to check some of these books out of the library and read them to your child accentuating the rhyming words. Books of poetry are also great for this.

In Writing Workshop we continued to write stories about something we know a lot about. We learned how to revise our stories by taking another look at them and adding to the picture and/or adding to the words or labeling objects in our pictures.  We learned that, as writers, “When you are done, you have just begun.”