Sunday, October 23, 2016

Coming Soon!

Hello Families of Mr. Abbott's Class!


October is almost over already! So hard to believe. A quick update of some upcoming events in our class is below. We continue our study of geology and have moved from rocks to the rock cycle and volcanoes. We've started a new unit in math, and are excited about some of the new games as we work on multi-step addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division stories. In reading we continue to learn about characters, and have learned that sometimes, despite what we know about predicting a character's actions based on their past behaviors, they can still surprise us. We took a break from personal narrative writing to write some metaphorical spider web poems in writing, and this week we start our Words Their Way word study!

Phew, that was more of a mouthful than I had planned. Here's that upcoming information!

Volunteering: I hope to start getting volunteers into our classroom in early to mid November. To that end, I would like to introduce you to Tiffany Marianski (Finn's mom) and Cam Shannon (Emma's mom), who will be our classroom parent volunteer coordinators! I will be sending them a list of all the people who have let me know you would like to volunteer in the class, and they will be in touch with you about what/when/how that will happen. Thanks so much Cam and Tiffany!

Field Trips: We will be going to Cookin' Carol's Farm on the slopes of Mt. Apatite this Friday to see what an amateur rock hound's mining activity looks like. The kiddos have already seen many of the samples I've brought back from there in previous years, and I think excitement is pretty high around this trip. The forecast isn't great right now, but it's Maine, and I'm sure it will change before I finish writing this update. If you are volunteering for this trip don't forget you'll need to send $5 in beforehand and either drive or carpool and meet us there.



We will also be walking to YHS to spend a few hours climbing on their indoor rock wall! We're still finalizing dates for this, but it will happen sometime in November before Thanksgiving. This is a great trip that ties together some of the themes we've been learning about in our geology unit with a serious dose of teamwork and community building. It's a highlight of third grade.



Conferences: You may have heard of your friends going to conferences already. I thought it would be good to spend a couple of extra weeks getting to know the class before meeting with you to discuss your children! To that end, I am tentatively planning on holding conferences on November 11th, Veteran's Day. I will be sending out an email with directions on how to sign up at a later date. If you have plans and will be out of town or unavailable, please let me know at that time and we will make alternate arrangements.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to catch up with us and upcoming events! I hope to get a couple of new videos up this week of some garden picking/drone flying and one of our tasty geology investigations.

Take care,
Todd

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What a Week!

Hello Families,

What a great week to rejoin our classroom. We had so much fun, and I feel like I'm getting to know the kiddos better already. We ended the week just as strong as we began! I've put together a couple of short videos to give you a glimpse inside our room.

The first video is a short clip putting together a few quick snippets of Reader's Workshop. We do Reader's Workshop every day, this part is the independent practice part that comes at the end of the workshop.

The second video is a little more unique: Emma's Dance Birthday Party! Always a great way to end a week. I had a couple of kiddos ask me about summertime birthdays: everyone will get a birthday party! We usually need a little decompression in June, so we do all of our July/August birthdays (and early September) during June.

Enjoy the great long weekend!

Todd

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Welcome, Fall

Hello Families,

Wow! It's so exciting to be back! The last two days have been so much fun, and I'm having a blast getting to know our class. Ms. Seymour got us off to a fantastic start, now our goal is to keep that momentum going as we blast into the heart of our Fall studies. In that spirit, we have a short video showing our class harvesting carrots from the school garden. Can you guess how many pounds the class harvested? (I was off by 50%!)

Here are a few updates about where we're at and what's going on in class. I've only been in the room for two days, and I already feel infected with a love of learning and such great support, what a great year to be in third grade!

Math: We're just finishing up with Unit 1 in Math. Our assessment will be soon, there will be no homework that night. You will be getting a Home Link with information about the upcoming unit as well as the answers to all of the Home Links, put it somewhere safe. Our in-class assessments are a time for me to really get a fix on who knows what. To that end, I make myself available to students for help and support during the entire assessment, and we'll work together to get at what they really are able to do. I'm glad I'm back in time for this first in-class assessment!

Reading: We just started our Characters Unit yesterday! That means we started reading Because of Winn-Dixie and we'll start The Tiger Rising during snack time tomorrow. Both are by Kate DiCamillo, and both are fantastic. Here are the covers:




Be prepared to hear about all the adventures of Sistine, India Opal, and Rob over the next few weeks.

We also finished Stone Fox today. In the end, Little Willy and Searchlight have to pay a very high cost to save Grandfather's farm. It's quite the tear-jerker, and as I do every year I needed to poke myself with a push-pin to keep from crying right through the sad part. Ask your reader about this story. We will be writing our own Chapter 11s as a response to this book using the KidBlog platform, the kiddos are super-excited to get started on it!



Writing: Personal Narratives! Now that we've established good writing habits, it's time to put them to use. We'll be gathering seed ideas and talking about what it takes to make a good personal narrative. This will eventually be our first published piece, and we'll be putting some serious time and effort into it.

Cursive: We got to start on our cursive handwriting books today! We're starting with "pieces" of letters for now, by next week we'll be getting into entire letters starting, just like in print, with the Magic "C."

Science: Time for investigations! We've been doing some great background information about geology. Tomorrow we'll be finishing our "Inside the Earth" diagrams, and then later in the week we'll be reporting on the characteristics of the rocks we brought in. Time to break out he magnifying glasses! At the end of this week or early next week we'll be exploring the rock cycle by creating magma and igneous and metamorphic and sedimentary rocks right in the classroom! (Well, in our imaginations we will. And in reality, we'll be melting crayons and squishing Starburst...)

That's a quick  rundown of where we're at right now. More to come soon!

Enjoy, take care,
Todd