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!