We're BAAACCCKKKK! We've returned from Spring Break, (well, most of us anyway) and we have hit the ground running. We've started a new chapter in math with perimeter and area. Perimeter is the distance around a shape and area is length x width. Students grasp the problem-solving aspect of this quickly, but with more hands-on examples that I (and you) provide, the more concrete this concept will become. Students get confused on what to do on each type of problem. For instance, they might add up all the sides for area instead of multiplying. Or they might only add two sides up for perimeter instead of finding the missing labeled sides and only get half of the area. Another confusing concept for them is using the correct label for area. All area labels must have SQUARE units instead of just units. Something to ponder and work on in the upcoming days.
Language arts has been a time to review skill items for the Kansas State Reading Assessment. This is brand new this year for Common Core standards and along with it comes new software. The host of the software is constantly working on bugs that are yet to be completely worked out. We've tried to take a few practice tests to familiarize the 3rd graders with how to use all the online tools that the KITE software utilizes. We've had some success with this, but not complete success as it's not always allowing us to log in. Sometimes it locks up and we just have to adapt and overcome by putting the computer to the side. We will be flexible with this testing session next week (It's two testing sessions for the reading test, so we will take the test over two separate days next week). Our host is fully aware of the glitches in the software. Because of this situation, the Kansas State Board of Education has granted ALL school districts in Kansas full accreditation for the 2013-2014 school year, which means this year's state reading and math assessments will be viewed as a "trial run" of the software and also a benchmark year to see how we can improve our scores next year. We are focusing more on individual student growth now as apposed to grade-level growth. I'm a fan of this ideology because when one 3rd grade class is compared to another year's 3rd grade class, it's like comparing apples to oranges.
Science has been working on properties, states, and building blocks of matter. It is the last unit of science for the school year, as we will begin starting our biomes projects by the middle/end of April. These are large projects that are done in class with research and technology-rich activities that have the students creating content on iPads and laptops for presentations to the younger classes. These presentations are always done the last week of school.
We will be taking the state math assessment in April. A notification will be on the blog for you to read. Please feel free to comment or e-mail me any questions or concerns. I try my best to be efficient on my responses to your questions.
Thanks for all you do,