Friday, June 7, 2019

Field Trip

Thank you to all of our volunteers today!  We had a great trip and beautiful weather.  

Friday, May 31, 2019


Lego Party Day in Third Grade

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

This Week In Our Classroom...

I hope you enjoyed Memorial Day weekend!  Thank you to all of your family members who have served for our country.  💙

Literacy:  Students will work on a small project to showcase the subject they studied last week.   They will also take an assessment to demonstrate mastery determining important events, identifying setting details, and distinguishing between episodic and chronological structures within a text.  Midweek, students will choose a new subject to study.  They will learn to identify the theme in a biography text as well as obstacles the subject overcame.  In writing, students will continue to type realistic fiction stories.

Science:  Today we'll finish up learning about food chains and webs.  Tomorrow students will explore a population simulation to understand how humans impact food chains.  Later in the week, students will take the Investigation 2 assessment.

Social Studies:  We will begin our next social studies unit this week as well.  It will be integrated into both writing and reading.  Students will spend time researching a large city in the US and comparing it to Chicago.

Math: We will begin Unit 8 this week.  Unit 8 is a review of skills we've learned this year.  Students apply knowledge of fraction operations to solve a variety of multi-step number stories.  Please expect the corresponding Home Links.

NWEA:  Students will take the NWEA this week- both tomorrow and Thursday.  We will test in reading first and then math on Thursday.

WAX MUSEUM SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, June 12th 2:15-3 p.m.
Research papers due Monday, June 3rd.  Please have your child begin memorizing his/her speech.  It should be NO LONGER than 1 minute long.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Writing Conferences

Peer Writing Conferences
Realistic Fiction Story Conferences

Students worked together to revise their stories today.  They will finish writing today and tomorrow.

Monday, May 20, 2019

SEL for Parents

The way that we interact with our kids when they are misbehaving impacts the relationship you have with them as well as what they are learning from the situation. We all get mad, we all yell sometimes, but when we yell at our kids, we send the message that we can't control ourselves when they are misbehaving. When we lose control, we are putting them in a situation where they feel in control of our reactions. During times of misbehavior, we want to model regulation while helping our kids calm down so they can learn. Anger and anxiety are contagious, but so is calm. In order to stay calm, try these things:

1. Know what you can control and what you can't. If you feel responsibility for every action and decision your child makes, you will be anxious and feel inadequate. You can control your reactions, the consequences you give and the lessons you teach, but not the actions of others. You have to remember that your child is a separate person from yourself. 
2. Know your triggers. If you know that specific behaviors trigger you, make a plan ahead of time for what you will do instead of yelling.
3. Make a commitment to practicing emotional regulation. Staying calm under extreme stress is not something that happens without practice. Find time daily to practice strategies that help you regulate, so they become habitual.
4. Recognize stress in your life. Think of how you can reduce your daily stress load to avoid bringing personal stress into the interaction.
5. Focus on learning Think, what life skills do I want my child to learn? What, when we are both calm, can we take away from this. Remember, a misbehaving child is a discouraged child. They are expressing need from their misbehavior. 

By not yelling and by staying calm and level headed, you will be more credible and respected by your child, and therefore more deeply connected. 

This Week in Our Classroom...

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Below you find a brief overview of what to expect this week in your child's classroom.

Literacy:  Students are studying the biography genre for the next few weeks.  Throughout the study, they will learn to distinguish between chronological and episodic structures.   They will also practice distinguishing between details and important events.  Towards the end of the week,  students will practice developing a theme based on the events and contributions of the subject.  In the writing block, students will wrap up drafting their realistic fiction stories.  I will teach students several strategies for ending their stories and then we'll begin the revision process.  Part of the homework this week will include taking the drafts home and having a parent or guardian help with editing and revising.

Math:  We'll wrap up unit 7 this week!  Students will practice measuring to the nearest 1/8th of an inch and practice gathering data from a line plot.  We will review for our unit 7 test.  Students will be assessed on Friday.

Science:  This week in Science, students will learn the different components of a food chain and a food web.  They will also explore different ecosystems.

Progress Reports:  Progress reports were sent home on Friday.  Please make sure you sign and return the Progress Report as soon as possible.

30BT:  The final 30BT Check-In is June 7th.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bug Day

The ABC Countdown has begun!  Thursday the class participated in Bug Day.  They designed the strongest ant possible in a STEM challenge and explored mealworms and isopods in Science.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Spring Wax Museum Project

The Spring Wax Museum Project was sent home today.  Please look over the project with your child and help him/her choose a subject.  Your child will study the subject and eventually "become" that subject in the Wax Museum.  This has always been a favorite project in third grade!  Please have fun with it.  If your child would like to choose a famous Chicagoan NOT on the list, I am more than happy to hear his/her ideas.  Subject choices are due Thursday, May 9th, so I can approve them before the weekend.

This Week in Our Classroom...

Literacy:  Students will finish reading their literature circle choice books and meet with their peers to discuss the end of the book.  Next week, we'll begin our biography unit.  In the writing block, students will continue to draft their realistic fiction story.  Today, students outlined their story on a plot mountain.  Tomorrow we'll begin developing characters and character motivation.

Math:  Our seventh math unit teaches students to multiply fractions and mixed numbers.  They'll continue to use multiplication strategies to solve word problems and analyze data on a line plot.  I will assign several assignments on as well.  These assignments are great practice and offer more of a challenge than the Home Links alone.

Science:  For the remainder of the week, students will wrap up projects and assignments using the theme set text.  Today they met with each of the different animal groups to learn about the life cycles of Poison Dart Frogs, Giant Pandas, Monarch Butterflies, and Komodo Dragons.  Tomorrow we'll study life cycle diagrams and read a short article.  The test will be given on Friday.  Students will be able to use their book to help them on the test.  Next week, students will begin studying the life cycles of insects and the environmental factors that affect survival.

Field Trip:  This Thursday, May 9th, we'll travel to the Irish American Heritage Center to see a play based on the history of immigration in Chicago.  You can find a detailed description on the theater company's website:

Spring Music Performance:  Students will perform in the Spring Assembly on Thursday afternoon from 2-3pm.  Please come!  It will take place in the auditorium.

Shared Learning in Science

Thank You

Thank you for all of the beautiful flowers and kind notes and cards.  I am very lucky to have your children in class this year- they are a fantastic group of kids! 

Monday, April 29, 2019

This Week in Our Classroom...

I hope you are staying dry on this very rainy Monday morning.  Below you will find a brief overview of what to expect this week in our classroom:

Literacy:  Students will continue reading their literature circle novels and meeting for group discussions.  In the writing block, students will begin writing a realistic fiction story.  Students will learn how writers develop ideas, create believable characters, and use the plot mountain to support drafting.  Deciding on an idea is often the trickiest part, please ask your child to share their ideas with you.

Social Studies and Science: Today we will wrap-up our Chicago Today unit and begin presenting final projects.  Each day this week, a couple of groups will share their projects.  We will also begin our final unit in science.  We will begin the unit using a National Geographic Theme set- similar to the Native American theme set and the Shaping the Earth's Surface theme set.  The final set teaches students about the different stages in an animal's life cycle.

Math:  We'll start unit 7 tomorrow.  Unit 7 mainly focuses on multiplying fractions and number stories.  Students will receive a new Home Links packet tomorrow.   Please check with your child to make sure they are completing Freckle assignments as well.

Field Trip Permission Slips will go home today.   Please return BOTH slips as soon as possible so I can arrange for chaperones.

30BT Check-in due Thursday.  Make sure you child has glued on his/her book jackets to receive credit.  26 books are due along with a project.

Please join us after school this Wednesday for STEAM night!  

Sunday, April 21, 2019

This Week in Our Classroom...

I hope you had a wonderful Spring Break and enjoyed the beautiful weather yesterday in Chicago!  Below you will find an overview of what to expect this week in our classroom:

Literacy:  Students will review the significance of understanding multiple perspectives in a literary text on Monday.  Following the review, they will take the final Sign of the Beaver assessment and watch the movie as well.  We will spend sometime comparing the movie and the book later in the week.  Following, students will choose a book to read as we begin literature circles.  In the writing block, we'll work on a small perspective writing activity and then begin our unit on realistic fiction.

Math:  We will wrap up Unit 6 early in the week.  Students should prepare to test on Friday.  I will send the study guide home tomorrow evening.

Social Studies:  Neighborhood projects will wrap up early in the week!  Students will share and then we'll begin our next science unit.

Monday, April 8, 2019

SEL for Parents

Encouragement vs. Praise
Praise may seem to work and motivate good behavior temporarily; but what are the long term results? Praise may feel good for the moment but what does it invite children to decide about themselves? 
  • All A's. You get a big reward.
  • I'm so proud of you.
  • I'm glad you listened to me.
  • I like what you did!
  • You are such a good boy/girl.
  • You did it just like I told you.
  • You worked hard; you deserve it.
  • You must be proud of yourself. 
  • How do you feel about it?
  • You figured it out for yourself.
  • I trust your judgement.
  • You can decide what is best for you.
  • I have faith in you to learn from mistakes. 
  • I love you no matter what. 
This is not meant to make us paranoid for giving praise once in a while. Praise, like candy, can be enjoyable on occasion but too much can be unhealthy and addictive. Encouragement, however, should be the staple that you give to yourself and your family every day. Encouragement allows your children to see themselves as being capable and it values their effort rather than focusing on perfection or pleasing others. 

This Week in Our Classroom...

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend!  Today is our last day of IAR testing.  It is also a very busy final week before Spring Break.

Passion Projects: Students will present their final passion project product on Friday.  I am excited to see all of the learning!  We will spend time in class tomorrow (Tuesday) and Thursday if students need to work on their projects, but minimal homework will be assigned this week so students can work on it at home as well.  Again the project is very open-ended.

Social Studies Neighborhood Group Project:  Students will use Social Studies time in class to complete the group project.  Although I have not assigned a due date, I believe students will finish up near Thursday.  After Spring Break, we will start our last Science unit.

Reading:  Students will finish Sign of the Beaver this week.  As we finish the novel, students will spend time evaluating the multiple perspectives in the book and determining which perspective aligns with their own thinking.  Students will also work on a perspectives writing activity using different point of views.

Math:  IAR testing concludes today.  Students will participate in a Math Mania assembly this afternoon.  Tomorrow we will continue with our Unit 6 math lessons.  I am going to hold off on the Unit 6 math assessment until after Spring Break- we have a lot of projects going on and just finished testing, so I believe this will be the best option.

Book Fair:  Our class will visit the book fair tomorrow- Tuesday, April 9th.  If you'd like to send money with your child, please send it in a labeled ziplock bag.  The book fair will be open all week.

Conferences:  I am looking forward to seeing all of you at conferences this Wednesday.  I sent home time confirmations with your child last week.  Please email me if you still need to schedule a conference.

Friday Folders:  "Friday" Folders will go home today.  We were in a rush last Thursday afternoon and didn't get a chance to pass them out.  Please look over the work with your child and return to school.

Monday, April 1, 2019

SEL for Parents

Many people do not know what they feel because they were not allowed to express their feelings as children. You cut off a large percentage of your intelligence when you suppress your feelings because much of your behavior is based on feelings that you aren't even aware of. When you acknowledge your feelings, allow them with dignity and respect, and find acceptable ways to express them, you have more self-acceptance and more control over your actions. When your child is experiencing strong emotions: acknowledge and allow acceptable solutions. 
Acknowledge anger: 
Sounds like you are really angry
Allow anger:
 Everyone has a right to feelings. I don't blame you. I have felt angry many times. 
Acceptable solutions: 
Would you like to punch a pillow?
Would you like to jump up and down?
Do you need to take some time to yourself?

This Week in Our Classroom...

IAR Testing this week- Please make sure your child arrives to school on time.  If they are late and we've already begun testing, they will have to retake the assessment at a later date.  Testing will take place each morning from 9-10:30 am.

Literacy:  Student will continue to read The Sign of the Beaver and analyze different perspectives in the test.  Some of the literacy block will also be used for Passion Project research and the neighborhood study.

Math: During math time, students will explore measuring angles with a protractor and naming angles.  

Social Studies:  Student will work on their neighborhood projects this week.  Today we will spend a little more time researching and tomorrow and the rest of the week, students will begin creating the final product.

Important Reminders: 

Return your Parent/Teacher Conference Time Preference sheet as soon as possible.  

No School Friday 4/5

Passion Project Presentations 4/12

Friday, March 29, 2019

Parent Teacher Conference Form

Parent-Teacher Conference forms were sent home today in your child's Friday Folder, return as soon as possible.  Please make sure to clean out your child's folder and go over graded work with your child.

Neighborhood Study Project

This weekend, part of your child's homework is to continue researching the neighborhood they are studying.  This research will eventually be used to create a brochure-like group project.  The project will be completed in school, but students may need to do some research at home.  Students are researching the location, culture, assets, transportation, history, government and landmarks in each neighborhood.  All research should be written in your child's Inquiry Notebook.

The very best type of research is actually experiencing the neighborhood.  If you have time, please visit the neighborhood your child is studying!  We would love to include photos and real artifacts from your child's neighborhood of study- they make the projects extremely personal and fun for the children.

If you are unable to take your child on a neighborhood tour, your child may visit the public library near you, as they have many books on Chicago neighborhoods.  Also, I've included a list of additional resources and websites that have a lot of information about the different neighborhoods.

Resources for Neighborhood Research:

The Grid:

Choose Chicago:

Dreamtown Real Estate Guide:

TimeOut Chicago:

City of Chicago (government):

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

SEL Strategies

Jane Nelson suggests some alternatives to consequences. Positive Discipline focuses on helping children learn for the future instead of paying for the past. 

1. Focus on the future instead of the past
 One clue that we are more interested in punishment is when the focus is on the past rather than the future. The focus is on making kids pay for what they have done instead of solutions that would help them learn for the future. 
2. Focus on solutions instead of consequences. 
Instead of imposing consequences, involve children in thinking of solutions. It is a mistake to think there must be a consequence for every behavior, or that consequences will solve every problem. 
3. Get kids involved in solutions
Kids are our greatest, untapped resource. They have a wealth of wisdom and talent for solving problems when we invite them to do so. The benefits are numerous. They have the opportunity to use and strengthen their skills; and they are more likely to keep agreements in which they have ownership. They develop self-confidence and healthy self-esteem when they are listened to, taken seriously and valued for their contribution. They experience belonging and significance. When they feel belonging and significance, they feel less inclined to misbehave and more willing to learn from their mistakes with optimism.
4. Help  children explore the consequences of their choices through curiosity questions 
Exploring is different from imposing. Curiosity questions help a child explore the consequences of his or her choices in a way that leads to solutions. What happened? What do you think caused it to happen? How do you feel about it? How can you use what you learned in the future?
5. Allow consequences instead of imposing consequences
If a child doesn't study, failing may be the obvious consequence. Allow the child to experience his or her feelings. Avoid rescuing. Show empathy. When the child is ready, use curiosity questions to help the child explore what the consequences mean to him or her. 
6. Allow suffering
Adults should never make children suffer, but allow them to suffer. Through the suffering, they can build their "disappointment muscles" and gain a sense of capability in the process. For example, if children don't get the toys they want, they may "suffer". This will not hurt them and may have great benefits. These great benefits come from validating feelings without rescuing, allowing a cooling off time and then involve children in solutions, in advance through family meetings, routine charts, wheels of choice,etc.
7. Decide what you will do. Inform in advance.
I will listen to you when you use a soft voice.
8. Follow through.
No words, just act with kindness and firmness.
9.As soon as_____ then_____
"As soon as you clean up, then you can go outside"
10. Take time for training
View misbehavior as an opportunity to teach skills. Your child will let you know what teaching they need!

This Week in Our Classroom

Below is a preview of what to expect this week in our classroom... 

Literacy:  Students are diving right into The Sign of the Beaver.  So far they've seemed to really enjoy the book.  As the class reads the book, students are studying the perspectives of the two main characters.  One main character, Attean, is a Native American boy from the Penobscot tribe.  The other character, Matt, is a settler moving into the area in the late 1700's.  Students will learn that perspectives can be very different due to background, culture, and personal experiences.  

In the writing block we are completing research for our Passion Projects.  Please send any materials your child has at home with your child for research purposes at school.  I also strongly encourage you and your child to visit the library for additional resources.  

Social Studies:  Today students chose a neighborhood to study.  We will base our study off of Kathleen Dragan's book, Rickshaw Reggie.  Students will explore a neighborhood to discover the culture, history, famous landmarks, location, assets, government, and more!  It would be really amazing if you were able to take your child to visit the neighborhood he/she chose for a mini-field trip!  They are working with a group of three on a group project during the next couple of weeks.  

Math:  We've begun to learn division strategies in the math block.  One new strategy that is taught in 3rd grade is called the "Partial Quotients" division strategy.  If you are unfamiliar with this strategy (it is NOT the way we learned division) please take a quick look at the following video: Partial Quotients Video.  We will continue to practice this during the week.  I am encouraging students that prefer "Long Division" to try this strategy and learn it as a back-up strategy.  

Other Important Dates: 

30 BT and Project due 3/29 (Friday)

IAR Testing next week 4/1-4/4

No School 4/5 End of Quarter (This means ALL missing work must be turned in and completed by this date.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Author Visit

We were so lucky to have Kathleen Dragan, the author of Rickshaw Reggie, visit our classroom today and present her awesome book!  You can still get a copy of the book on her website if you're interested:

Monday, March 18, 2019

SEL for Parents

This week, we will focus on letting go. Letting go is not easy for parents. Our fears often get in the way of allowing children to grow through normal developmental stages. Trying to stop a preadolescent from hanging out with friends, or a teenager from talking on the phone too much, is similar to trying to stop a toddler from walking because he/she might hurt him/herself. If our goal is to empower our kids and help them grown, these "Five Steps to Letting Go" can help. Note: Letting go is not something you need to tell your child you are doing. This is a process you can continue to work on in your own quiet moments. 

1. Think of an area where you are having a hard time letting go with one of your kids (an area where you know in your heart you are holding on too tight)
2. What are the issues?
a. Yours (usually your fears)
b. Theirs (usually what they want)
3. Are you willing to let go? There is not point in going on to the next two steps if you are not willing to let go.
4. What is a small step you could take to let go? Be specific.
5. When would you be willing to start your small step of letting go, and how long are you willing to do it even though it may be a little uncomfortable for you?

Dreikur's words can help "A bruised knee can mend, but bruised courage lasts a lifetime"

This Week in Our Classroom

Image result for shamrockHappy St. Patrick's Day!  Below you will find an overview of what to expect this week in our classroom.  
Literacy:  Last week we began our Perspectives unit in reading.  To begin the unit, students studied different points of view and the effect the point of view has on the plot.  This week, we'll learn how  perspectives can contribute to the mood of the story.  Later in the week, students will begin a novel study with The Sign of the Beaver.  We will study two characters closely and notice how their perspectives differ throughout a series of events.  Students will read the novel and complete response activities to analyze the different perspectives.  Additionally, students will be responsible for learning eight new vocabulary words. 
In the writing block, we'll practice writing in response to prompts to prepare for our upcoming state tests.  This preparation is brief and will review citing evidence and explaining our thinking clearly. Two days a week will also be spent working on our passion projects.  
Social Studies:  Tomorrow we have a special author, Kathleen Dragan, coming to present to our class on Chicago's neighborhoods.  She will present her book, Rickshaw Reggie.  We'll continue to learn about the different components of a neighborhood community throughout the week.  Then, students will vote on a neighborhood they'd be interested in studying in depth.  More information to come on this!  
Math: We began Unit 6 in math this week.  I cannot stress enough the importance of fact fluency.  Please make sure your child has his/her multiplication facts memorized.  The unit provides division strategies and lessons on angles in geometry.  Please expect corresponding Home Links daily. 
Important Dates: 
Thursday, March 21st K-2 Magic Show from 9-9:45
Thursday, March 21st Literacy Night and Character Parade
Friday, March 22nd Third Grade is leading the school-wide morning meeting 9am
Thursday March 28th 30 BT Check In (22 books & Project)

Monday, March 11, 2019

SEL for Parents

This week's focus is on natural consequences. "A natural consequence is anything that happens naturally, with no adult interference. When you stand in the rain, you get wet. When you don't eat, you get hungry. When you forget your coat, you get cold. No piggybacking allowed. Adults piggyback when they lecture, scold, say "I told you so", or anything else that adds more blame, shame or pain than the child might experience naturally from the experience. Piggybacking actually lessens the learning that can occur from experiencing a natural consequence because the child stops processing the experience and focuses on absorbing or defending against the blame, shame, and pain. Instead of piggybacking, show empathy and understanding for what the child is experiencing. " I'll bet it was hard to..." When it seems appropriate, rather than patronizing, you could add, " I love you and have faith in you to handle this." It can be difficult for parents to be supportive without rescuing or overprotecting, but it is one of the most encouraging things you can do to help your children develop perceptions of capability." 
Jane Nelsen, Ed.D

A Sneak Peek into Our Week....

I hope you had a great weekend.  Below you will find an overview of our week ahead.

Progress Reports went home Friday. Please sign and return. If you have a question about your child's progress report, please check on Parent Portal and ask your child first, then feel free to email me.

Illinois Assessment of Readiness Parent Letter -  As mentioned in the Skinner North March newsletter, third grade students will take the IAR, a state-wide assessment in the areas of Math and English Language Arts.  Third grade will test April 1st-4th. This test is replacing the PARCC test.

Literacy Night & Character Parade - Literacy Night is Thursday, March 21 from 3:45-5:15.  We will also have a character parade that day, similar to our vocabulary parade.

Literacy: We'll begin our Perspectives unit in reading this week. Students will learn to differentiate between 1st and 3rd person perspectives. They will study how the perspective of the book affects the plot development. During the writing block, students will continue working on a passion project we started earlier in the year. Additionally, students will record their digital rock stories.

Math: Today (Monday), we'll review for our unit 5 assessment. Tuesday students will take the assessment and then we'll jump right into unit 6 on Wednesday. Unit 6 will focus on division strategies and more in-depth study of angles.

Science/Social Studies: We've condensed our final science investigation in order to save some time. Last week we studied natural resources and renewable vs. non-renewable resources. Students will take a final extra credit quiz today in science. The points received on the quiz will be applied as extra credit to a previous science test. Our next social studies unit, Chicago Today, focuses on how communities work together to meet the needs of citizens. Students will study Chicago neighborhoods and what makes each neighborhood unique.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019



Monday, March 4, 2019

SEL Tips and Helpful Suggestions

Many parents complain that their kids don't listen. One way to motivate cooperation is through the use of curiosity questions. Using questioning, when we are calm and rational, and truly listening to kids' answers, provides a valuable model for good listening. Modeling good listening teaches kids more about listening and cooperation than a traditional lecture about what happened, why it happened, and how they should feel. Here are some examples below. 
  • What would help you remember to bring what you need to be prepared for class? 
  • What is your plan for getting your homework done and turned in on time?
  • What will you wear so you will feel warm outside?
  • How can you and your brother solve this problem?
  • What words can you say so I can hear you?
  • What will happen to laundry that isn't in the hamper?
  • What could we do to solve this problem respectfully?
  • What happened?
  • What were you trying to accomplish?
  • How do you feel about what happened?
  • What did you learn from this experience?
  • What ideas do you have to fix what happened?
  • What solutions will help you experience a different outcome in the future?
~From Mrs. Kearns

Sunday, March 3, 2019

30 BT Book Projects

Andrew P

 We had some pretty fantastic book projects turned in this week!  Here are a couple of great examples. The next project is due March 28th.  Please make sure your child gets a head start on the project!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Science Investigation 3 Assessment Study Material

Soils, Rocks, and Landforms: Investigation 3 Study Material

Students may use both their Science Notebook and their Soils, Rocks, and Landforms book while taking the test.  The following material will be on the assessment. 

1.   Students should be able to read a topographic map, identify contour lines, and determine the contour intervals. 

2.   Students will need to differentiate between processes that change landforms at a rapid speed and processes that change landforms slowly (earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, tree roots, glaciers, weathering, floods, etc.)

3.   Students will need to explain the effects of glaciers, landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods.

4.   Students will evaluate solutions to the effects of the processes listed above and determine the best solution to a problem. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

SEL for Parents: Sibling Rivalry and Conflict

The Basics of Dealing with Sibling Rivalry and Conflict (by Jody McVittie, CPDA)

1. Some sibling conflict is normal and healthy.
2. Sibling conflict can teach valuable life skills: Cooperation, learning conflict skills (problem solving, walking away, cooling off, standing up for yourself), more than one point of view is valid, finding solutions that work for more than one person, fixing mistakes (owning a mistake, apologizing, working together for a solution)
3. Parents can make sibling conflict a LOT worse. Instead, develop the skills to minimize competition. Avoid comparing siblings. Avoid rewards but don't forget to celebrate each child's achievements in a way that is appropriate for them. (There is a fine line between rewards and celebration. The question is to ask is why am I doing this? Is it to get them to "keep it up"? Then it is a reward. If it is a- perhaps quieter- acknowledgement and celebration of achievement? That is a celebration)
4. Sibling conflict is more about you (the parent) than you think.
Kids don't understand that love is not finite. Your negative reaction can be better than what else is happening. Learn to stay out of fights. Even those they have mistaken beliefs about how to get there, each child wants belonging and significance. Spend time with each child.
5. Teach children basic safety standards/skills. Teach them: Stop means stop. When to walk away. When to ask for problem solving help (not rescuing)
6. Develop the skills to use the sibling conflict to empower children with important life long skills: Suport kids by teaching them: problem solving skills, how to listen, how to walk away, why people act the way they do, how to ask for and give meaningful apologies (but not before they are ready)
7. Parents can learn to take care of themselves so sibling conflict is no longer a problem. Understand the issues and learn skills to maximize the benefit, minimize the ruckus. People do better when they feel better...even parents. Take care of yourself!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Next Week in Our Classroom...

Greetings!  Please see below for classroom updates and announcements.

Literacy:  This past week, students reviewed genre characteristics of fables and practiced stating the moral of the story in kid-friendly language.  We also reviewed determining the theme and theme topic of a story.  Next week, students will begin reading an anthology of short folktales titled, The Cow-Tail Switch.  The Cow-Tail Switch stories of West Africa are about men and animals, kings, warriors, and hunters.  Students will practice determining the theme, understanding the conflicts, and finding details to support ideas and thinking.  Additionally, students will meet with me in guided reading groups daily.

During the writing block, students will be drafting their "Rock Story."  We began this project earlier this week.  Students chose a rock to research.  This rock will become the narrator of the story.  Students will write about the rock's properties, minerals, and how the rock was formed in a first person narrative, non-fiction story.  All research should be completed by Monday.  Students will bring home their research this weekend if you'd like to take a look!  This was a former "Quarter Project," so we will spend some time working on this in class.

Math:  We are half-way through our fifth unit in the Everyday Math curriculum.  Students are learning to use addition and subtraction with fractions.  They are also exploring the relationship between fractions and decimals.

Science:  Our Soils, Rocks, and Landforms unit is well underway.  We've completed the first two investigations (there are 4).  Assessments for both investigations were sent home this week.  If you're child received below a 70%, they may make up the assessment.  To make up the assessment, please have your child write the question they answered incorrectly as well as the correct answer and how they know or found the correct answer on loose leaf paper.   I will only accept thoughtful responses and neat work for a 70%.  In the current investigation, students are learning how the Earth's surface is mapped.  We've studied topographic maps in depth this week.   A "Problem of the Week" has been sent home for homework.  It is due next Friday.

Report Cards were sent home last Friday.  

30 Book Tower and a project are due this Thursday.  I am extending the due date to Friday the 29th, as I will be at a meeting on Thursday.