3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

The excitement is palpable as we are less than a week away from our play performances! Please continue to help your child read his or her lines as loudly, slowly, and clearly as possible. Imagine you were not familiar with the script. Would you understand the words? Can you hear them from fifty feet away? Oh, and PLEASE remind your child to bring his or her script back to school on Monday!

As a last reminder, the 3A play will be performed on Wednesday, May 10 at 9:15 and on Thursday, May 11 at 1:15. After the Thursday performance we will have a short celebration. Families are welcome to contribute snacks! 

This weekend, ask your child

  • How did you use geoboards to explore fractions and equivalent fractions?
  • What is your Dream Flag Project poem about?
  • What was it like to meet the crayfish who live in 3B?
  • What did you do today with your family circle?
  • What protest sign did you make for the play?
  • Which of your lines in the play do you still need to make louder or slower?
  • Why did TPS decide to install “Gender Neutral” signs on some bathrooms?

Happy rehearsing!

Miriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Hard to believe, but here it is - our last Friday note of the year! We are so proud of how hard your children have worked and all the learning and growing they’ve done in so many ways this year. Thank you for your trust in us and your partnership.

We are sure you heard all about our wonderful visit to the Baltimore Museum of Industry. This year’s group was possibly our most enthusiastic ever!

Next week is full of special events. Monday is Move-up Day. Third graders will spend about an hour in the Junior Unit, reconnecting with the current fourth graders, meeting teachers, and learning about the Junior Unit.

Tuesday is the annual third grade “pool” party. We set up a sprinkler in the yard and serve popsicles. Your child will need a bathing suit, towel, and a plastic bag in which to bring them home.

Friday is Graduation. Students are asked to dress up a bit in honor of the graduating eighth graders. Dismissal will be at 11:30am; there will be no after school activities.

This weekend you can ask your child
•about our persuasive reviews blog and the posts s/he has written*
•who Harvey Milk was and how he helped make things more fair for LGBT people
•what we did for our last Family Circles activity
•about this week’s geometry activities
•about practicing our signatures - first and last names - in cursive
•about the kindergarten fairy tale plays we saw on Wednesday
•about today’s explorations at the Schuylkill Center

Have a great weekend - and a happy summer if we don't see you next week!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

*This is our blog link: https://kidblog.org/class/3a-2015-20161/enter-code 
and this is our join code: y5aemz9

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

We hope you have a lovely Memorial Day weekend! Please remember that we are leaving for our trip to the Baltimore Museum of Industry promptly at 8:15am on Tuesday morning. We will line up to board the bus at 8:00. Please note: Although electronics such as ipods and ipads are permitted on the bus, phones are NOT. Teachers will be in touch with the office if it is necessary. It is always an exciting and interesting trip and we are all looking forward to it!

This weekend, ask you child

  • What s/he learned about Cesar Chavez and his work to help migrant farmworkers 
  • To tell you about The Story of X (Read the story here!) http://www3.delta.edu/cmurbano/bio199/AIDS_Sexuality/BabyX.pdf) 
  • Which poem s/he recorded on MicNote 
  • About the videos of Misty Copeland and his/her persuasive essay on whether a ballet dancer is an athlete or an artist 
  • The self-assessments s/he did this week 
  • About our ongoing work with geometry 
  • What crayfish structures s/he labeled on the crayfish diagram

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Post play we were back to our usual routine this week! Our mathematicians dove back into their geometry work and our poets into poetry writing. In theme yesterday we read 10,000 Dresses, a story about a transgendered child. The children were respectful and thoughtful as we discussed this sensitive topic.

We had a glorious day at the Schuylkill Center! Your children wrote beautiful nature poetry and had a fun time looking for macroinvertebrate at the stream.

We are excited about our upcoming trip to The Baltimore Museum of Industry on Tuesday, May 31! Please download this letter about the trip and the permission form, which must be filled out and returned to us by May 26.

This weekend, ask your child

  • What a dichotomous key is and how we used it to identify macroinvertebrates
  • What we learned about crayfish this week
  • About our work with quadrilaterals and their attributes
  • What we learned about Angel Island from the book Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America
  • What has been happening to Francisco and his family in our read aloud, The Circuit
  • About the fun obstacle course we did in the gym last Friday afternoon!
  • About our Schuylkill Center Day today

Enjoy the weekend!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

What a week! We are beyond proud of all that your children accomplished in the process of putting on their play! Many thanks to all of you for your support with practicing lines, gathering costumes, and providing us with such wonderful goodies at the celebration.

This week, in addition to working hard on the play, the children decorated their dream flags for the annual Dream Flag Project. As we mentioned several weeks ago, there is a public celebration tomorrow at the Constitution Center and we hope some of you will be able to attend. Representative poets from 3A and 3B will join poets from other schools and read their poems from the stage. It would be great for some of their classmates to be there to support them! We also have room for a couple more readers. If your child would like to read his or her poem at the celebration please let us know this evening. Our dream flags will be displayed at the event along with those of many other schools from the area and from around the world. For those who attend but don’t read their poems from the stage there is an informal open mic option. There will also be a variety of activities before the formal program begins. Please see the flyer we sent home today or check out the News and Events section at dreamflags.org.

Happy weekend!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Please check your calendars and make sure you have planned to attend one of our performances next week! The first performance is Wednesday, May 11th at 9:15 AM and the second performance is Thursday, May 12th at 1:45 PM. Choose either performance; we expect both to be terrific.

Your children have been working hard this week to get their play performance ready! We are impressed at how much better they've gotten with their lines and want them to keep practicing every day so they can be even slower, louder, and clearer. Please note that we do not require them to memorize lines. Some children may choose to, but it is more important for them to devote their practice time to making their lines super clear. Please see last week's note for suggestions on how to practice. In addition, we had a new practice tip this week to help with diction: Hold a cork between your teeth and read your lines! They should still be intelligible! In addition to practicing their lines, your children should work on knowing their cues – a cue is the line or stage direction that comes right before an actor's line or action.

About costumes: In general we'd like students to wear a plain white or black top and dark pants or leggings. Other costume pieces can then be layered over as necessary. Your child will be bringing home today a short list of items we'd like him or her to wear or that s/he has volunteered to bring in for a classmate. We absolutely do not expect anyone to buy anything new! We have some costume pieces at school that we can share around as well. Please email if you have questions.

In other news, you can ask your child about

• today's family circle meeting
• the poem s/he wrote for the Dream Flag Project
• our crayfish!
• geometry work

Enjoy the weekend - and think sunny thoughts!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Excitement mounted this week as we gave out parts and scripts for the play and began to block scenes! We expect everyone to bring there scripts home and back to school every day and to practice at home frequently. There will be no written homework next week to allow time for this. (40 minutes of reading is still expected.)

You can help your child with his or her lines and cues. Students are not expected to memorize their lines, but they are expected to read them smoothly, loudly, slowly, and with expression. One good way to practice is for them to read their lines to a family member from the other side of a closed door, from the other end of a long hall, or from a different floor in the house. The listener should be able to hear the lines clearly! It's also helpful if the listener reads the line or stage direction that comes right before the line(s) your child is working on.

This week your child can tell you about...

  • Math puzzles
  • Science vocabulary: organism, habitat, niche, ecosystem, macroinvertebrate
  • What it's like to live on the minimum wage
  • Child labor today
  • The wage gap between men and women in the US
  • What was surprising about the poems we read in class yesterday
  • Our discussion with Matt about digital responsibility
  • Encuentro this morning
  • Our visit to the Schuylkill Center today

Enjoy the weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

The play writing is almost finished! Today we did a read through of all but the very last scene. There are many wonderful thespians in the group and we are looking forward to giving life to all the characters for whom we’ve written lines. The children gave us their choices as far as size of part, characters, and scenes. They signed a “contract” which states that they understand that they may not get any of their choices and that they will do their best with whatever part or parts they get! We do our best to make the casting as fair as possible but there are inevitably some disappointments. And the disappointments are inevitably good learning opportunities!

This weekend your child can tell you about:

  • Langston Hughes’s childhood
  • His or her favorite parts of the play
  • Our read-aloud book, The Circuit
  • The “I Am” poem she or he wrote
  • Park Bench - our new drama game!

Happy weekend - and Happy Passover to those of you celebrating! Please note the calendar posting about the Move-Up meeting for 3rd grade parents on May 3.

Warmly,

MIriam and Josh

P.S. For those of you still making summer plans. Josh is running two City Country Camps that might be of interest: “History Detectives: Philadelphia Edition” (6/27-7/1) and “ARTrageous” (7/5-⅞)

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Between the excitement of Grandparents and Great Friends Day and the intense work of play writing, this has been a busy week!

We also went deeper into our study of poetry. We have been learning about “poets’ tools.” Our young poets have looked at examples of simile and personification and have produced some lovely, creative figurative language themselves. Yesterday we read and discussed several poems by Langston Hughes, and today we explored haiku. Make sure to ask your child what he or she has learned so far about poetry! You can also ask:

  • About this week’s work with fractions 
  • About the science video we watched of the rebuilding of a 19th century water mill 
  • About the scenes we’ve written for our play 
  • What “take a break” means and how we use it to help develop self-control 
  • To hear some of the wonderful songs we’ve been singing in music!

Enjoy the weekend!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

It has been an exciting first week back after spring break! We have had several play writing sessions and this year’s play is beginning to take shape. The children have also continued to practice acting warm-ups with MR and Madeline.

Our return to the Schuylkill Center is being delayed due to today’s all-school visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, next Friday’s Grandparents and Special Friends Day, and our professional development day the Friday after that. We may be able to add in a make-up Schuylkill Center day in May - we’ll let you know if that happens.

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, May 14th, from 10:00 am -12:30 pm. That is the date of this year’s Philadelphia Dream Flag Festival and Celebration at the National Constitution Center. Each year TPS third graders participate in the Dream Flag Project by writing dream poems and making dream flags. Those who are available come with their families to the Constitution Center to celebrate and connect their dreams with those of other Philadelphia area school children. (For more information about dream flags go to www.dreamflags.org)

This weekend ask your child:

  • What are some characteristics of poems? 
  • What happened when we built water wheels in science? 
  • What happened in our guided reading books this week? 
  • What have we learned about fractions this week? 
  • What are the four acts in our play going to be about? 
  • What did we see and learn at the art museum today?

Have a great weekend!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Your children have begun their preparations for leading their parent conferences. They have sorted completed work, chosen pieces to share with you, and completed some self-assessments. Next week we will continue the preparation so that the children are ready and confident to do this work. Student led conferences are a rewarding experience for everyone and we look forward to sharing them with you!

In theme we have been immersed this week in the topic of child labor. From coal mining, to textile work, from canning to selling newspapers, children of a hundred years ago or so worked long, difficult days. Ask your child to tell you about that and also about:

  • This morning’s awesome drama club performance of Really Rosie
  • Drama games we played with MR and Madeline
  • Editing our nonfiction Lucid Press pieces
  • Our work around controlling our “wanna’s” and doing our “gotta’s”
  • The fantastic apple people the class created in art recently (they are on display in the hall near our room and are definitely a must see!)

Have a great weekend!

Warmly,

MIriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

This coming Monday is the deadline for our writers to have their nonfiction google docs typed up. At school they will continue to work on copying those docs into the Lucid Press program. Creating pages and using text boxes can be tricky but our writers are beginning to get the hang of it. And of course many of them are enjoying the ability to put images into their Lucid Press docs! We hope to have the pieces finished in a week or so.

It’s been an exciting week! Ask your child:

  • About the exciting kick-off to the third grade play process - our lesson today with Madeline and MR, our teaching artists from Philadelphia Young Playwrights 
  • About the wonderful performances we heard at this morning’s Middle School recital 
  • About Lewis Hine and the photography he did for the National Child Labor Committee - What kinds of jobs are children doing in his photographs and why did he take the pictures? 
  • About our water cycle project presentations 
  • What s/he learned about tenements 
  • About the ending of Home of the Brave and what s/he thought of the book

Enjoy the springtime weather!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

We have asked those of our students who still have a lot of typing to do on their nonfiction Google doc to try to get some of it done this weekend. All pieces should have a table of contents, an introduction, at least three chapters, a conclusion, and a glossary, if needed. To get to their Google doc from home, students should go to the sign-in page of Google Drive and sign in with their TPS email address – that is first name followed by last initial @tpschool.org. From there they log in with their usual TPS password followed by 2021.

We hope you heard about the helmet safety lesson we had on Tuesday. It was presented by two CCP student nurses. They made a powerful case for ALWAYS wearing a bike helmet when biking, as well as wearing appropriate helmets for other sports that have them. Apparently the brain is as fragile as jello - which they demonstrated - but can be well protected during impact by a helmet. Most bike accidents do not happen because of cars but as a result of an uneven surface or inattention. So please insist that your child wear a helmet and make sure you wear one yourself!

Information for your calendar about the third grade plays: The performance dates are Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12. On the May 11, 3B will perform at 9:15am, and 3A will perform at 1:15pm. On May 12, 3A will perform at 9:15, and 3B will perform at 1:15. Parents are generally invited for the second day (the first is officially a “dress rehearsal”), but you are welcome on the first day if you are unavailable on the second.

This weekend, ask your child:

  • If s/he needs to work on typing this weekend
  • About our activities measuring area 
  • What Bill Nye “the Science Guy” taught us about water 
  • What water cycle project s/he worked on today 
  • What s/he learned about Ellis Island from the virtual interactive tour we took 
  • About the books we read in theme this week: The Lotus Seed, Nadia’s Hands, A Picnic in October, and American Too
  • About Family Circle activities this morning

Have a great weekend!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Yesterday and today were filled with theater! We hope you heard from your child about the highly entertaining performances of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew that we were treated to by the eighth graders.

Our nonfiction writers are deep into the process of creating their nonfiction books! They have started typing their introductions and chapters on google docs. Many have asked if they can do some of the work at home and the answer is, “of course!” They can log in to google docs with their TPS password followed by 2021.

The art teachers encourage you to sign up for a conference with them. The links:

Rick http://doodle.com/poll/kqwpvbwingb5wzcz

Catherine http://doodle.com/poll/7r42s3ppzyv7a77i

This weekend, ask your child:

  • how his or her nonfiction project is going 
  • what condensation is and how it forms 
  • how we created mini water cycles using plastic cups 
  • about Henry “Box” Brown 
  • about the Irish Famine 
  • about The Matchbox Diary, a book about Italian immigrants 
  • about the Mendez family and the book Separate is Never Equal 
  • what multiplication and/or division games she or he has played 
  • how Kek in Home of the Brave managed to get a job only a week after arriving in the U.S. 
  • what we learned and saw at today’s Encuentro hosted by JU-C

Enjoy the weekend!

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

We are thrilled to tell you that Suzanne’s baby girl was born on Wednesday! Her name is Alice, and she weighed in at 6 lbs 6 oz.

Today’s trip to the Johnson House was chockful of information and exciting stories! Among other things we learned about the three important clues that historians have to understanding how the Johnson House operated as a station on the Underground Railroad. Find out what your child learned and what he or she thought of the trip!

Yesterday we were treated to a short salsa dance performance by the students in Cecilia’s Salsa Dance Club. We were all impressed by how much they had learned in only a couple of weeks! Felicitaciones - Nico, Karya, and Paige!

Ask your child:

  • About the articles s/he read for our boxes and bullets work 
  • What strategies s/he tried for their nonfiction book introduction 
  • About immigration “push” and “pull” factors 
  • What surface area is and how it relates to evaporation 
  • What patterns we’ve noticed on this month’s area and perimeter calendar 
  • What s/he has been learning about division 
  • What new challenges Kek faced in this week’s readings of Home of the Brave 
  • About his or her new guided reading book 
  • About today’s encuentro hosted by Primary B

Have a great weekend!

Warmly,

MIriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Next Friday we will be visiting The Johnson House in Germantown. The Johnson House was the home of a Quaker family and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. We have been reading stories in theme about the Underground Railroad and it will be exciting to see a real station!

This week we began a new read aloud - Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. It is a beautiful story, in verse, about Kek, a young Sudanese refugee who comes to live with relatives in Minnesota. Ask your child about some of the challenges Kek faces as he adjusts to his new life.

Also ask your child:

  • how we are using “boxes and bullets” to identify the main ideas and supporting details in nonfiction texts 
  • how we are using “hamburgers” to help us write paragraphs with topic sentences and supporting details 
  • who William Still was and about the work he did for the Underground Railroad 
  • what area and perimeter mean and how this month’s calendar is helping us learn about them 
  • about the results of our wet paper towel investigation in science 
  • what his or her favorite acts were at yesterday’s talent show

Congratulations to Aya, Siena, Alex, Anand, Sophia, Julián and Paige for performing their talents in front of the whole school! Enjoy the long weekend.

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

In reading workshop this week we began working on finding the main idea in a passage of text. The children have learned that the main idea of a paragraph is not always at the beginning - it can be at the end or even hiding in the middle! Learning to distinguish main idea from supporting details is a foundational skill. You can give your child practice developing this skill by asking him or her to tell you the main idea of a passage they’ve just read and how they know it’s the main idea.

This weekend ask your child

  • about the ending of The Birchbark House 
  • what a pit school was 
  • how his or her multiplication work is going 
  • how his or her nonfiction piece is going 
  • whether ice is more or less dense than water and how we know 
  • what songs s/he is learning in music 
  • how recorder playing is going 
  • about the percussion performance at today’s Encuentro 
  • what friendship tools our book buddies shared with us today
  • what bead breathing is and how it can help you

Links to our March conference sign-up were emailed earlier today. Please schedule your classroom conference as soon as possible; and remember, the specialists would love to see you, too.

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Friday Note

Dear 3A Parents,

It was fun to hear about everyone’s snowy adventures!

During our indoor lunch times for the past few days we have been watching a documentary called On the Way to School. It is an amazing film that shows to what lengths children in some parts of the world have to go just to get to school. Children in Kenya, Morocco, India, and Argentina are featured and the film follows each of them on their journey. Ask your child to tell you more about it.

You can also ask your child

  • what we noticed when we counted to ninety by three, six, and then nine 
  • what s/he learned from the video about Harriet Tubman 
  • what has been happening in The Birchbark House since the smallpox epidemic
  • what nonfiction text features s/he found during reading workshop -
  • what nonfiction piece s/he began drafting today 
  • about the apple head dolls they are making in art class 
  • about today’s Encuentro music recital (Congratulations, Adley, on a wonderful performance!) 
  • about today’s meeting with our book buddies

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Today at Encuentro the winners of Student Council’s canned food drive were announced. 3A came in second! We are proud of our students’ diligence in bringing in food, and we are grateful to you for your generosity.

In theme this week we collected data from the immigrant ancestor projects into a retrieval chart. It was fun for the children to begin hearing about their classmates immigrant ancestors! We will be using the chart in the upcoming weeks to help us learn more about immigration.

In writing workshop we have begun writing nonfiction pieces and learning about ways they can be organized. Our nonfiction reading unit complements the writing unit. Our readers have been choosing nonfiction books and learning all sorts of new things from them. Today we introduced the class to RAZ kids, an online library of nonfiction and fiction books that they can read. RAZ kids has options to listen to a book while reading along, read a book, or record oral reading of a book. There is also a comprehension quiz option at the end of each book. Like IXL, RAZ kids can be accessed from the third grade page of the TPS website and the login information is the same. RAZ kids can be used as part of your child’s home reading.

This weekend ask your child about

  • this morning’s music/Spanish Encuentro percussion program 
  • On the Way to School, a video we started watching 
  • how he or she did with typing practice today (Typing Pal is also on the third grade page of Student Central and uses same login info) 
  • Wednesday’s science investigation and what we saw when we put hot and then cold water into room temperature water 
  • Nettie’s Trip South, based on the true story of a girl who visits the south, witnesses slavery, and grows up to become an abolitionist 
  • the beginning of our work in math on multiplication

A reminder from TPSA: The 3rd grade and Junior Unit potluck is Wednesday, February 3, from 6:30-8:30 in the garage. All are invited to attend.

Enjoy the weekend - whether you’re outside playing in snow or inside staying cozy! 

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Thanks to all of you for your help with the Immigrant Ancestor Project! We look forward to using the information collected by our young historians during the coming weeks. It is always interesting for the children to see when and how their families and those of their classmates became part of the story of our country.

On Monday we introduced the class to IXL Math - a website used by TPS students of all ages to practice math skills. IXL can be accessed on the third grade page of Student Central on the TPS website. Username is the student’s first name and first letter of last name (lower case no spaces) and password is their regular TPS password. If they log in directly from the IXL site and not through TPS the username has to have @philadelphia added on to it. We suggest students start with Level E and go to D if that feels too frustrating or F if they want more of a challenge. Right now IXL is an optional activity they can do at home. In the future we may assign homework on it occasionally.

This weekend ask your child:

  • what s/he learned about skin color from the book All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color
  • about the differences between fiction and non-fiction and which non-fiction book s/he has been reading 
  • about the story of Molly Bannaky, an English indentured servant in 1680’s Maryland, who became the grandmother of Benjamin Banneker, famous 18th century African-American scientist and mathematician 
  • what happens to water when it is heated and when it is cooled and what s/he observed in our science investigation 
  • about the books Teammates and Sister Anne’s Hands, which we read in connection with the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday.

Enjoy the long weekend! See you on Tuesday.

Warmly,

Miriam and Josh