3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

It’s hard to believe there is only one more week in this school year! We have enjoyed our journey with your children and are preparing to send them off into summer and beyond. We had a fabulous trip on Tuesday to the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Practically every 3A student wrote a super positive review of the experience. We hope you got to hear about all the fun activities and interesting exhibits.

Here are some announcements about next week:

Monday is Move-Up Day! Third graders will spend about an hour in the Junior Unit. They will meet teachers and spend time with the current fourth graders. (Please note: Move-Up Day classrooms are NOT necessarily the classrooms they will be assigned to next fall.)

Wednesday morning, first thing, will be our last meeting with our kindergarten book buddies. Please try to have your child get to school on time so he or she doesn’t miss out.

We will be cleaning out cubbies and book bins and sending work home. Please send in a shopping bag for overflow that doesn’t fit in your child’s backpacks.

We have a few crayfish that need homes. If your family is interested in taking one, please let us know.

Thursday afternoon will be our annual end-of-year water party. We will have a sprinkler in the yard. Your child should bring a bathing suit, towel, and flip flops or other shoes that can get wet.

Friday morning is graduation. We ask students to dress up a little in honor of the eighth grade graduating class.

Happy weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Our trip to the Baltimore Museum of Industry is Tuesday, May 30! Please remember that we are leaving promptly at 8:15 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.) Phones that no longer operate as phones but "just as iPods" are okay.

We are aware that some of you are uncomfortable with your children bringing electronics. We have told the children that if you do not want them to bring electronics, they need to accept your decision since you are their parents! There are plenty of other kinds of fun toys and games that children can bring. In the past kids have brought cat’s cradle, magnetic checkers and chess, cards, drawing materials, etc.

Bus riding makes kids hungry and thirsty, so please remember to pack water and a few healthy snacks. No candy is allowed and please avoid popcorn as it is super messy.

It is always an exciting and interesting trip and we are all looking forward to it!

This weekend, ask your child:

  • What did you learn about writing reviews from Alex Tewfik, Food Editor at Philly Magazine? (He came and spoke to us on Monday.)
  • What have you written reviews about?
  • What geometry activities did you do this week?
  • What did you do at the special Spanish event on Wednesday?
  • What did you learn about how the introduction of wolves back into Yellowstone National Park changed the ecosystem there?
  • What was X: A Fabulous Child’s Story about?

Enjoy the long weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

It felt a little strange this week to come to school and NOT work on the play! We got back into our routine for the last full week of school -- hard to believe! 

In science this week we practiced identifying macroinvertebrates by using a dichotomous key. Students answered questions like “Shell or no shell? Legs or no legs?” as they worked their way through the key to the answers.

This weekend ask your child... 

  • Which macroinvertebrates did you identify? What do the three different taxa mean?
  • What is a simile? What is personification? How did you use these poet’s tools?
  • What is the “boxing” strategy for subtracting when you have to trade over a zero?
  • What new song did you learn when Brian Jordan visited 3A?
  • What was it like to participate in Glenn Holsten’s film?
  • Who was Wilma Rudolph and why is she an inspiration to people?
  • What did it mean to be a “paper son” during the period of Chinese immigration to Angel Island?
  • What adventures did you have at The Schuylkill Center today?

Hope to see you at EATS tonight or the FUN Meeting on Sunday!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear Families,

What a week! We are beyond proud of your children for their amazing performances on Wednesday and Thursday. Thank you all for your support and for being such an appreciative audience.

And now, another special event! Tomorrow is the annual Philadelphia area Dream Flag Project Celebration at the Constitution Center. We sent a flyer home about it on Tuesday, but since some of those flyers are still sitting in cubbies, you may not have heard about it! Obviously the celebration is optional since it’s on a weekend, but if your family is available on Saturday, it is a wonderful, uplifting - not to mention free! - event! Several 3A and 3B students will be reading their dream poems from the stage, and all of the third graders’ dream flags will be on display along with flags from many other area schools. There will be drumming performances and other fun activities.  We hope you will join us!

Miriam and Josh

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 Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

We certainly had an exciting week, between finishing the play, casting it, and starting to block the scenes! By now you have surely seen the script and heard about your child’s various roles. Over the weekend - and every day until May 11 - your child should practice saying his or her lines loudly, slowly, and clearly. You can help by listening from the other side of a closed door, the opposite end of a long hall, or another floor in your house. You should be able to hear all the lines clearly! Many of the children seem interested in memorizing their parts, but this is NOT a requirement. It is perfectly fine for them to read from the script. It is more important to say the lines loudly and clearly and with expression than it is to have them memorized. There will be no written homework for the next two weeks to allow for lots and lots of time for practicing lines.

This week we have been reading poetry by Langston Hughes, and yesterday we started working on our poems for the Dream Flag Project. This is an international poetry and art project inspired by the dream poetry of Langston Hughes and the tradition of Nepalese prayer flags. As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we’d love to see as many of you as possible at the Philadelphia Dream Flag Celebration on Saturday, May 13, at the National Constitution Center. The event is scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with a variety of activities and performances being offered. For more information about the Project or the Celebration, please go to www.dreamflags.org

This weekend, ask your child...

  • What aspect of the play most excites you?
  • What did you learn about the names of the parts of a stage?
  • What was your first dream poem about?
  • What fraction game did you play this week?
  • Which environments did you take notes on from your science book?
  • What is an adaptation?
  • What are you doing for your shadow puppet project in art?

Enjoy the sunshine!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

The play is almost finished! We just have to finish the ending and do some edits. The excitement was palpable when the topic of practicing lines came up today! Just as a heads up, the closer we get to the play, the more we will need to be flexible with our schedule. Next week there will be no word work so that we can use those times for play-related activities.

This weekend, ask your child...

  • What activities did you do with fractions this week?
  • How was writing diamante poems? Did you try writing an ode?
  • What is happening to the characters in your guided reading book?
  • What did you think of the improv game, Three Line Scenes?
  • What part of the play are you most excited to share with your audience?
  • How did you feel about the science assessment?
  • What did you learn from the video about Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Happy Earth Day!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Having completed our water investigations, we focused this week on the water cycle as a whole. On Tuesday we watched a video on the water cycle and then our water experts worked on academic choice projects that demonstrate or describe parts of the water cycle. If your child was absent on Tuesday, it would be great to have him or her watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPJ2iIzrqac

Please note: Student Council will be holding a pretzel sale on Monday. Pretzels will be $1.00.

This weekend, you can ask your child

  • What parts of the play did you help write this week?
  • How did you feel about the area and perimeter assessment?
  • What did you think about Langston Hughes’ poem, “April Rain Song”?
  • What poems did you write?
  • What did you do for your academic choice science project?
  • How do you play the game “Pass the Clap”?
  • What songs did you sing at Encuentro?
  • What did you do at The Schuylkill Center?

Happy weekend and happy Easter to those of you celebrating!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Happy spring! The beginning of April means that we are busy writing our play! This week we sketched out a draft of the structure of the play and began writing dialogue for one of the scenes. We have many enthusiastic playwrights in the group, so we are looking forward to a great script. As a reminder, the play will be performed on May 10 at 9:15 and May 11 at 1:15. Please also “save the date” for the third grade’s annual participation in The Dream Flag Project Celebration at The Constitution Center on Saturday, May 13. Our upcoming poetry unit will lead up to it. Please see www.dreamflags.org for more specifics.

This weekend, ask your child:

  • What activities have you been doing to learn about area and perimeter?
  • What is condensation and what makes it happen?
  • How did our read-aloud The Circuit end?
  • What ideas and people did 3A decide to put in the play?
  • What did you write in your letter on redlining for the Huffington Post?
  • What did you think of the theater games Park Bench and Clap?
  • What project did you work on today in your Family Circle?
  • What parts of The Schuylkill Center did you visit today?

Here’s to a sunny weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Your children have worked hard to prepare for their conferences! We are excited for you to see the results of their efforts. 

Important calendar note: The performance times are now set for the third grade plays. 3A will perform our (as yet unwritten!) play on Wednesday, May 10 at 9:15 a.m. and on Thursday, May 11 at 1:15 p.m. A celebration will follow the Thursday performance.

Ask your child:

  • What are prime factors and how can you find them?
  • What was your favorite part of preparing to lead your conference?
  • What drama activities did you do with Madeline?
  • What new ideas did you learn about mindfulness?

Check out these fun and interesting online resources that we looked at this week:

Have a relaxing and fun spring break!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

A highlight of this week was our first session with Madeline Charne, our teaching artist from Philadelphia Young Playwrights! Madeline taught us several theater games, all of which were met with great enthusiasm and creativity by the group. We also learned what “actor ready” means and discussed the importance of good diction and projecting one’s voice. Madeline will return once next week and then more frequently after spring break as we begin to put our play together in earnest.

Questions to ask your child this weekend:

  • What did you learn in science about the effect of surface area on evaporation?
  • What are the two different types of division word problems?
  • What are factors and how did you use arrays to find the factors of numbers?
  • What have you done so far to get ready to lead your parent conference?
  • How did the book Mama Went to Jail for the Vote add to your understanding of the fight for women’s suffrage?
  • Who was Harvey Milk and how did he help build a more fair USA?
  • What did you learn about child labor in the United States a long time ago and now?
  • What books did you read on the Epic website?
  • What did you think of the middle school music recital?
  • What did you find most interesting about the drama session with Madeline?

Enjoy the weekend,

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

This is a short note since we are away at a conference. Bravi to the 3A performers in today's ensembles recital!

Questions to ask your child this weekend:

  • What Chinese musical instruments did you hear at the concert on Tuesday? Did you have a favorite?
  • Who was Cesar Chavez, and which workers did he help organize?
  • What did you learn about the L.A. Janitors' Strike?
  • What did you learn about the history of the minimum wage?
  • What did you learn about the fight for women's rights and women's suffrage from the book Elizabeth Started All the Trouble?
  • How do you play the division game Leftovers?
  • How did air temperature affect evaporation in this week's science investigation?
  • Can you identify all seven continents and five oceans?

We hope you all have an enjoyable weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Thanks to those of you who signed up for conferences on the Doodle links that were sent out last week. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do -- and check last week’s Friday note to find out which teacher your conference should be with. 

It is exciting to be getting more and more into the meat of our theme of Building a More Fair USA! We hope you heard about last week’s role play that helped us learn about redlining. This week we brainstormed a long list of strategies people have used to bring about positive change. One of those strategies is taking a case to court. We read I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, a captivating book about the Supreme Court Justice who became a lawyer at a time when few women did because she wanted to fight for what she thought was right. We also read The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. Today we read Separate but Not Equal, a story about the fight for school desegregation in 1940s California. Ask your child to tell you about these stories!

You can also ask about:

  • our new read-aloud, The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez;
  • strategies we’re learning to solve division word problems;
  • water vapor -- What is it and how did we investigate evaporation this week?
  • Lucid Press, the publishing program we’re using to create our nonfiction books;
  • the geography activities we did to learn the continents and oceans;
  • Family Circles today.

Have a great weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

You will soon be receiving information from the school with links to sign up for spring parent conferences. In third grade the spring conference is student led. That means that your child will prepare to lead the conference by reflecting on what s/he has accomplished and what s/he is working on. S/he will choose work samples to show you and discuss. Our experience has been that it is a wonderful opportunity for both parents and children! One teacher will be present to help facilitate the conference. Please schedule your conference with the teacher under whose name your child is listed: 

Josh                      Miriam

Desmond              Alessandro

Isabel                    Amelia

Isaiah                    Beyan

Kiran                     Hayden

Lisa                       Isabella

Marleigh               Maggie

Max X.                  Max I.

Nathaniel             Melanie

Pearl                    Nola

Pria                      Pree

Samantha            Roman

Samuel                Theo

Stella

 

Questions to ask your child about this week at school:

  • What did you learn in theme from working on the redlining role play?
  • What did you think of the 8th grade's Shakespeare plays we saw: Julius Caesar and A Midsummer NIght's Dream?
  • What did you learn about the Lucid Press publishing program?
  • How did Home of the Brave end?
  • How was book buddies today?

Happy weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

The highlight of the week was, of course, Tuesday’s annual TPS talent show. We are proud of the many 3A students who bravely got up and performed in front of the whole school!

Yesterday a highlight of a different sort was a visit by Liliana Velasquez. She is a Guatemalan teenager who, in order to escape an incredibly difficult life, walked through much of Mexico by herself to come to the United States. She told the story of her childhood and journey to the third grade students who listened with rapt attention and asked many questions.

This weekend, ask your child

  • What stood out for you the most about Liliana’s story?
  • How is your nonfiction book going?
  • What happens to the density of water when it freezes and becomes ice?
  • What are your favorite addition and subtraction strategies -- and why?
  • Who were the Greensboro Four, and what is a sit-in?
  • Where is Kek taking Gol, the cow in Home of the Brave?
  • What do the amygdala, the prefrontal cortex, and the hippocampus do?

Have a great long weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Although our week was interrupted by a snow day, it was a productive one. Our nonfiction writers made progress on their Google doc pieces, our mathematicians strengthened their subtraction skills, and we took a virtual tour of Ellis Island! Today the sixth graders presented about conflict minerals at Encuentro. Your child should come home with a flyer related to that. Please make sure to ask for it and read it together.

This weekend, ask your child...

  • What subtraction strategy did you practice this week?
  • What part or parts of your nonfiction piece did you work on, and how is it going?
  • What happened when we put vials of hot and then cold water into room temperature water?
  • What is “Emma’s Poem,” and why is it important?
  • What stop on the Ellis Island tour did you present about to the class? What did you learn about Ellis Island?
  • What tricks did you see at the yoyo performance this morning?

Enjoy the weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Yesterday we attended the Junior Unit’s Lunar New Year Learning Celebration. They performed an instrumental and vocal concert of Chinese music with some lyrics even sung in Mandarin. Afterwards we visited the impressive displays in two JU classrooms. It is always fun and interesting for students to see the kinds of projects they themselves will be creating in the next couple of years!

We have noticed chocolates in some lunches recently. Please note that candy is not allowed in school, and that includes chocolate. 

This weekend, ask your child: 

  • about his or her writing project, now being typed on Google docs;
  • how successful she or he was this week at writing reading responses that started with  an idea and then included information from the text to back it up;
  • what happens to water when it is heated and cooled;
  • what we mean by “push” and “pull” factors of immigration;
  • about the “give and take” strategy for addition;
  • what job Kek (from Home of the Brave) got, and why he needed a job;
  • what happened today in Family Circles;
  • about the Friendship Toolkits our book buddies showed us today;
  • about the indoor recess petition, discussion, and decision.

Have a great weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Today we had two special events. First we were treated to a wonderful presentation by storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston. She told several African folktales accompanied by djembe and kora, a large stringed instrument made of a giant gourd. Then we went up to visit the sixth grade’s poetry cafe. They read their beautiful, powerful poems to us -- many about issues involving gender or race -- and even served us hot chocolate! 

Please note that we are keeping reading journals at school over the weekend. Students do not have to log, but they should still make sure to read every day.

Over the weekend, ask your child about:

  • learning how to use Google docs for our information writing project;
  • the poetry performances at the sixth-grade poetry cafe;
  • the units in a base ten strip mat, mat-mat, and strip-mat-mat;
  • how the size of a water drop and the slope of the surface affect the flow;
  • what categories his/her theme group made for reasons people immigrated;
  • Kek, the main character in our read aloud, Home of the Brave.

Enjoy the weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

Thanks to all of you for helping your children with their Immigrant Ancestor Projects! Today we began sharing the information and everyone was excited to tell about his or her immigrants. If you are an immigrant and you would like to visit us to talk about your experience, please let us know. It enriches the students’ learning to hear about community members’ actual experiences.

Please note that JU-B will be holding a pretzel sale on Monday. Pretzels are $1.00. Money will be collected in the morning and pretzels delivered at lunch. 

This weekend ask your child about

  • How we are using our classroom timeline;
  • How we write numbers using base five code;
  • Our investigation using pennies to learn about surface tension in science;
  • What s/he has written so far for our Information book project;
  • Using “boxes and bullets” to help find main ideas and supporting details in nonfiction articles.

Have a good weekend!

Miriam and Josh

3A Weekly Note

Dear 3A Parents,

This week we spent our theme classes learning about slavery in the United States. First we read Light in the Darkness, an historical fiction story about an enslaved girl who, with her mother, takes huge risks in order to learn to read. We watched a short video about the triangular trade and learned that in 1619 the first enslaved Africans to be brought to North America arrived at Jamestown, Virginia. We then read Nettie’s Trip South, based on the true story of a ten-year-old northern girl who encounters the ugly realities of slavery when she visits Richmond, Virginia, and sees a slave auction.

Not surprisingly -- and appropriately -- your children were vocal about the absolute unfairness and sadness of slavery. Although it is a challenging and difficult topic, we feel that it is important for our students to have at least some background information about it in order to more fully understand our upcoming study of civil rights and other social justice issues. You may want to touch base with your child around the slavery readings and discussions -- and please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.

Other topics to ask your child about this weekend include

  •     MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech, which we watched and discussed yesterday
  •     Our informational book writing project -- students have chosen topics and written ideas for chapters
  •     Our work finding main ideas and supporting details in nonfiction texts
  •     Our science investigation into how water behaves when dropped onto different surfaces
  •     Our new math unit on Base Five

Enjoy the long weekend!

Miriam and Josh