Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December is Here

Hello Third Grade Families!

A really quick update on what's been going on and what's coming up in Mr. Abbott's class.  It's been a busy start to the holiday season, thank you for being patient with us!

Math: We're just about bringing Unit 4 to a close.  We've had lots of fun digging our hands and brains into multiplication using arrays, fact practice, and games.  Great ways to continue practicing at home are using your multiplication fact triangles and TimezAttack if you can download it.  There are directions on the YES Instructional Resources page.  Next Unit we'll be talking about place value in whole numbers and starting to talk about decimals.  Look for the family letter coming home this week.

We're also going to start experimenting with the online Student Reference Book.  This should be fun!

Reading: We're putting the final touches on our Characters unit.  It's been amazing!  Just ask your reader about the characters in Because of Winn Dixie, The One and Only Ivan, or The Tiger Rising and see what they have to say!  We've talked about how characters are established, face problems, and change, and I've heard some really amazing thoughts coming from your very thoughtful readers.

Our next unit is Mystery Book Clubs, so expect to start hearing about alibis, red herrings, and clues!

Writing: It was so great to see so many of you at our publishing party.  I hope you were as proud of our personal narratives as I was.  We've just started getting into our realistic fiction unit, and as you can probably surmise, our writers are very excited.  I look forward to some great stories coming our way.

Theme: Geography is moving along great!  Each student has chosen a state and made a preliminary investigation.  These will continue, and next we will be moving on to countries.  Today we have two new, large globes in the room.  I'm excited to see what our geographers think of them.  We've also been talking about world landforms starting large with continents and getting right down to our hometown, Yarmouth.

I promised quick, and quick it is.  As we move into the snow season, please remember to send appropriate clothes with your child: boots, gloves, hats, snowpants.  I'm recommending to the class that if you have an old pair of shoes or sneakers that you don't really use anymore to leave them in the back room for classroom and hallway use while boots are drying outside the class.  If not, please make sure to send in some inside shoes every day!

Take care,

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mean, Median, Mode, and Range

Mean, Median, Mode and Range

Hey diddle diddle, the median's the middle
You add and divide for the mean

The mode is the one that appears the most
And the range is the difference between

                                    by Unknown

Final Five moves to Twitter!


If you are a regular follower of the Final Five (and I know you are!) then you may have noticed that we are no longer updating the Final Five page on the blog ever day.  Does this mean the Final Five has gone away?  (Dramatic pause)  No!  Of course not!  We've just tried to move into a more "modern" format to help you start those great learning conversations at home.

The Final Five is now being Tweeted each day at 3:05PM, and posted right on every page of the blog in the upper right corner as a gadget.  What does this mean for you?  Well, it means you can now see the Final Five right on the front page of the blog without having to click through to the Final Five page.  What else does it mean to you?  I'm glad you asked!

What tweeting the Final Five also does for you is allow you to receive the Final Five right on your phone, tablet, or other internet-capable device.  If you already have a Twitter account, you can just go to the blog and click the "Follow ToddAbbottYES" button right on the Twitter gadget.  If you don't have a Twitter account, you can make one, and the follow us on the blog!  This account will only be used for tweeting the Final Five, so if you are worried about spam tweets you can rest easy.

I hope you find this as exciting and easy as we do.  If you have any questions or concerns or need any help just send me an email!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Help out Y.E.S.!

Hello again families!  It's been great to finally get to sit down with some of you for conferences, and I can't wait to see the rest of you next week.  I'll also have an update for you soon about where we're at in class and what to expect in the next few weeks.

For now, I wanted to share some information with you from the PTO, and in particular our own Denise Pendleton, who helps administer the Hannaford Gift Card program.  Here's a short description from her about what it does for our school:

The Hannaford Gift Card Program is the biggest fundraiser for Yarmouth PTO, and is a super way to raise needed funds without buying anything more than your groceries and prescriptions at any Hannaford supermarket. 

Your check made out to the Yarmouth PTO gets you a Hannaford gift card for the same $ amount AND the PTO gets 5% back from Hannaford Supermarkets.  Watch out for monthly flyers in your student’s folder to get started!

So it seems to me all this program costs is a little planning to send in your check and then you just buy your groceries like normal and some of the money comes back to the PTO, who then use it to enrich our curriculum and support us in the classroom.  Everybody wins!  

The next collection date is on Thursday, October 31st.  Hope to hear from you then!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Feels like Fall

Hello Families of Mr. Abbott's Class,

The leaves are coming down and it is definitely feeling like fall.  Here's a rundown of some of the things happening inside the classroom this month!

Math: We wrapped up Unit 1 and are well underway with Unit 2.  If you didn't already, please take a moment to read the letter home that was attached to the Unit 1 Progress Check.  I was very pleased with how we did as a class!  In Unit 2 we are dealing more with the process of addition and subtraction, as well as number stories and how to interpret them.  In addition to our nightly Home Links you can always hop on XtraMath and/or SumDog for some additional math practice!

Reading: We're slowly putting to bed our Building a Reading Life unit and getting ready to Follow Characters into Meaning!  The read-aloud with this unit is The Tiger Rising, by Kate DiCamillo:

We've also started reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate during snack time.  Talk about some amazing characters!

Writing: Our personal narratives are starting to come together.  We've written some great leads, and now we're going to work on pulling the heart of the story into shape.  It's been great to see everyone coming along so strongly and really working on shaping their stories.

Science: Geology is a hit!  We've talked quite a bit about the layers of the earth and how rocks are formed and change.  We'll be moving towards weathering and erosion next, and in the meantime I'm sure you've heard plenty about our crystals forming in the window.

Cursive: We're finishing up with the Magic C-based letters, and will be starting our helicopter letters soon.

Trips/Visitors: Thank you for your permission slips for the Maine State Museum next week, you'll be getting another slip this week for our rock climbing trip at the High School on October 21st.  We have a visitor from the state coming to class on October 29th to talk to us more about erosion and runoff, and things are shaping up well for our trip to Mt. Apatite farm and quarry on October 31st.

Conferences:  I'm setting up conference times right now, you should be getting an email with sign-up instructions soon.

Keep up the great homework support!  I'm excited to get volunteers into the classroom next week, after we have finished with NECAPs, so you can see all the fun things we're up to!

Take care and talk soon,

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day by Day in Third Grade

Hello again, families of Mr. Abbott's class!

A very quick update before our Friday gets started.  I am sharing with you the outline of what a "typical" day might look like in third grade this year.  If you have any questions about it feel free to email me or post in the comments.  You've probably noticed that our spelling words have started coming home since Open House, and we had our first Math Progress Check yesterday!  I'm looking forward to looking them over this weekend, it seemed like we were very confident.

We have also started our Geology experiments, and our budding geologists are doing a great job in that area.  Last week we explored "The Crayon Cycle" (which is coincidentally very like the rock cycle but with crayons) and today we'll explore the rock cycle some more using Starburst and the geologic forces of our mouths!  I'm sure you'll hear about it tonight.

I hope you've been finding the Final Five and Homework Updates helpful, we will make every effort to insure that they remain regular and steady.

I've copied and pasted the information I talked about at Open House below, I hope the formatting sticks for when this is posted.  Again, any questions, please let me know!

Have a great weekend,

Welcome to Open House
Each day students:
  • Get ready to learn with a math message
  • Participate in a lesson
  • Use the language of mathematics
  • Complete guided practice and independent practice (including home links)

Often, students:
  • Work on problem-solving challenges
  • Practice math facts
  • Collaborate with a partner or small group on a math game or challenge
Homework includes study links, practicing math facts, and completing an appropriate number of Discovery Math problems.

Each day students:
  • Listen to a read aloud by their teacher (modeling fluency, engagement, and comprehension strategies)
  • Read independently
  • Participate in a reading mini-lesson and in some form of guided reading

Often, students:
  • Participate in choral reading, reader's theater, or partner reading
  • Develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills through Junior Great Books, Comprehension Toolkit Lessons, or reading responses (in journal and in Better Answers lessons)

Homework includes nightly reading which students record on the at-home reading charts. They will also be assigned more directed reading homework as the year progresses.

Writing and Spelling:
Each day students:
  • Work on at least one stage of the writing process
  • Participate in a writing mini-lesson
  • Listen and respond to others' writing

Often, students:
  • Edit their own writing using CUPS: capitalization, understanding, punctuation, and spelling
  • Practice spelling strategies and do word study
  • Use a variety of editing tools including print or online dictionaries, thesauruses, and/or other organizers
Homework includes one page of spelling practice that goes home on Wednesdays and is returned to school by Friday. Additional vocabulary work may also be assigned.

During the week students:
  • Engage in “cursive warm-up” activities and prepare their hands and bodies for cursive writing
  • Observe teacher modeling of specific letters, both lower case and capital
  • Practice independently in their Handwriting Without Tears books
Themes In Science and Social Studies:
Geology, Geography, Sound, Space, and Biographies

Yarmouth Core Values


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Coming Along

Hello families of Mr. Abbott's class!

We are making some great progress as we move into the latter half of September.  A few updates on what's happening in each of our main academic areas right now:

Math: We've started moving along in math, as you've probably surmised by the Home Links that have been coming home.  No Home Link today, today we did a quick math inventory to see where we're all at.

Reading: We've started talking about our reading histories and what we want for our reading futures, and I heard some great conversations about this.  We also started working on our reading stamina, building capacity for independent reading in the future.

Theme: Geology!  If you haven't heard about Geology yet then I guess you better now!  Keep looking for that rock to bring in and we'll be digging a hole through the Earth tomorrow.

Technology: The internet at Y.E.S. has been a little persnickety, but we've still managed to get on to xtramath.org and create portfolio covers for our, well, portfolios!  We're looking forward to some serious Geology research as well and can't wait for the wireless update coming this fall.

Community: I have been very impressed with how caring, concerned, and conscientious our class has been as we talk about inclusivity, sharing, and how to make this year the best for as many people as possible.  We'll keep talking about this all year long!

I hope that's a good update for now and will keep you interested for finding out more at the Open House on Monday!  Look forward to seeing you then!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nice to Meet You!

Well hello, there, Mr. Abbott's new class!  It was very nice to meet some of you on the drop-in day.  I hope you got a sense of how our classroom is going to look this year, and I hope I gave you a few things to think about as you get ready for this exciting year.  I know you certainly gave me some things to think about!

A quick warning to parents: there will be quite a few things coming home on Tuesday that you need to read, sign, file and/or send back to school.  Please budget a few minutes on Tuesday night to get through as much of it as possible so we can get those pesky bits out of the way and focus on all the fun exciting things that will be coming starting Wednesday.

Notice to students: I'm already excited for our first Read-Aloud Chapter Book of the year: Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant:

Get ready to hear about Murray the bat, Gwendolyn the hermit crab, Kona the dog, and Stumpy the squirrel and how they team together in the face of unexpected disaster.  Then again, most disasters are unexpected, and as we see in this story it's often how well we can help each other out that determines our level of success.  I'm sure you'll love this story as much as I do!

See you soon,
Mr. Abbott

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Welcome to Third Grade!

Hi there!  

I'm Mr. Abbott and I'm looking forward to meeting you very soon.  I hope you're enjoying your summer as much as I am.  Mrs. Abbott and I are hard at work getting our classroom in shape for all the fun and learning we will be doing this year, it looks great with a new coat of paint!

How has your summer been?  I've spent the summer getting re-acquainted with many of the things that make living in Maine so great: beaches, hiking, biking, music, and finding a comfy place to curl up with a book.  I hope you've had and are still having a great summer, too, doing the things that make you happy.  Keep those memories fresh, we'll be tapping into some of them for our first writing work this fall!

If you want to get an idea of what to expect this year, you can go back through last year's blog posts and also the "Final Five" tab at the top of the blog.  We will be doing many of those things, as well as some completely new activities.  There's also a summary of homework, our specials, and some other interesting bits and pieces.  Feel free to explore and maybe get excited about what's coming up!

If you look on the right side of the blog, there's a place to enter an email address.  Get your parents and anyone else who wants to keep track of us this year to sign up there, and they'll get a notification whenever we post something new.  It's the best way to keep abreast of what's going on in our classroom!

Keep your eyes on the mail, there should be something arriving for you very soon.  If you have any questions, call me here at school or email me at todd_abbott@yarmouthschools.org and we'll see what we can do.

See you soon!
-Mr. Abbott

Hey There Fourth Graders! ;)

Dear Mr. Abbott's class of 2012-2013,

Hope you all are having a great summer!  I wanted to send out one last blog post to you all before I switch this over to my new class, who are coming very soon.  Which means that you, very soon, will be going into fourth grade!  Congratulations, you worked very hard last year to make it to where you are now.  We even managed to have lots of fun while we did all that learning!

I also wanted to say "Thank you" for all your kind words, cards, and gifts last spring.  I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the excitement of Field Day and then got completely taken off guard with all of your kindnesses.  Your thanks and hard work and smiles are what really make me the happiest.

Enjoy the end of your summer, and keep up all the effort and perseverance that got you where you are now.  Check in with me now and then, let me know how you're doing, and give me a chance to tell you how proud I am of you.  :)  Your teachers are so lucky to have such a great group of kids coming their way.

I'll leave you with a quote I'm very fond of, and which I actually used during a very lively debate with some friends of mine last night.  It's from Mahatma Gandhi, and it's hard to do too much wrong if you think about it now and then:

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

I feel like the world is in good hands.

-Mr. Abbott

(Also, if you get a chance, come by and see some of the new books I got over the summer.  I think you'll like them!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grandparents' Day Show


We wanted to take a minute to post a nice few videos we took at the concert today (this was supposed to be posted earlier!). Our class did an amazing job for the wax museum, and all the grandparents were duly impressed! I look forward to round two of our wax museum at the Learning Celebration this Friday, the 10th of June.

And another:

And Finally:

I hope you enjoy these, and I'll try and get the videos from the Grade 3 Concert up as soon as I can!

-Todd and class

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wax Museum Pics

Hi families of Mr. Abbott's class! Here are a few pictures from our Grandparents' Day Wax Museum. I hope you get to see more next Friday, May 31st at our Learning Celebration. I polled the famous people that were on display, and they said you only get a hint.  So here goes...

-Mr. Abbott

Our first wax statue became famous for his theories on the origin of species while traveling aboard "The Beagle."
This entrepreneur is responsible for the computer/phone you carry in your pocket.
And the primary competitor of our previous inventor, this gentleman created the most popular operating system in the world.
This brave young woman had the wherewithal to record her experiences when the Nazis invaded and took many of her people away.
And you might just recognize the first African-American president of the United States below.
Although his general theory of relativity is what he's best known for, this famous brain is also often quoted on matters of the heart.
Unless you're a muggle of magnificent stature, you cannot help but recognize the creator of Harry Potter.
This forward-thinking woman refused to give up her seat on the bus solely because of the color of her skin.
Even in a photograph, it's difficult tot tell exactly what the world's most famous escape artist is doing with his hands!
This intrepid explorer spent six years opening up a land route to China to trade with Europe.
While I was queen of England, William Shakespeare wrote his enduring plays and tolerance was practiced throughout the realm.
I was the guide that ensured the explorers Lewis and Clark made their trip safe and sound.
If holding the record for home runs doesn't give me away, then maybe knowing that I was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees will help.
I was First Lady to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and spent some time in Maine.
Our next scientist showed the world the intricate ins and outs of society for chimps, and broke new ground for women in her field.
I sailed around the world!
This happy lady was the first lady to John Adams, and gave him much advice during the continental congress.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dates and Dates

Hello there friends of Mr. Abbott's Class,

It's getting into that time of year when things move at their fastest and it feels like there's just not enough time to get everything done.  Whether there is or isn't (enough time), we will still get it all done!  With that said, here are some important dates to keep in mind for the next few weeks:

May 14th: Kevin Hawkes author visit

May 24th: Grandparents Day
(this will also be our first performance for our biography wax museum)

May 31st: Learning Celebration
(this will be the second performance of our biography wax museum)

June 5th: Field Trip - Planetarium

June 11th: Field Day

June 12: Gordon Corbett planet expert visit

June 14: Last day of Third Grade!

This is just a quick list, but I wanted to give you a bit of perspective on some of the things we have coming up.  I will be emailing out more detailed descriptions to keep  you up to date with what's going on.  Please feel free to email me any questions, some of this is pretty new to me, too, so I'm trying to get a feel for it all!  :)

See you soon,

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Art Show

Hi Artist Families!

So a few weeks ago your amazing children created some fabulous art and Mrs. Weir displayed the creations in the YES Gallery (also known as the hall outside the library). We got to look at these masterpieces every time we went to Art, Library, Gym, or the office. I was so impressed that I catalogued them all on our class iPad, and wanted to share them with you.



(Posted from the iPad so sorry for any formatting issues!)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Climbing: Finally!

Families of Mr. Abbott's Class:

As promised, here are our climbing collages!  Sorry for the delay, I'm still working out some of the details on how to transfer from iPad to Blogger to finished product.

As you take a look, you should notice that each collage has the name of the student who made it.  Students were given free reign to put the pictures they wanted into their collage, so you may notice some friends in there.  This was such a great day, I'm so glad we got this opportunity.

If you have any questions or don't see your child's collage, please let me know!

I think the part of the day where I felt the most proud was at the end of the session, when Mr. Simms was telling the class that when they actually rock climb  it won't be nearly so loud (it was Spirit Week at the High School), and that climbing is a great way to connect with nature.  He mentioned that on a rock wall the holds won't be quite so "obvious" looking.  I then asked the class what kind of forces might make the real holds they would see in nature, and I hear multiple students call out "Weathering! Erosion!" which made me very happy.  I asked what sort things would contribute to that and heard Wind, Ice, and Water right off, which made me even happier.  :)

Take care,

-Mr. Abbott, Geologist