Wow!  What a fantastic early April week we had.  Warm temperatures brought an end to the ice on the lake, the birds were singing songs of joy, and the children were excited to spend more time outdoors again.  This week brought the return to lunch outdoors and full recess together.  We were also able to squeeze in a couple of extra recesses!  

This week we wrapped up our persuasive writing unit with an on demand writing prompt on Tuesday.  During this unit students practiced writing three variations of persuasive writing:  persuasive essays, persuasive letters, and book reviews.  Students were able to pick one of these three formats to write one final persuasive piece about something they feel strongly about.

Later in the week we began working on a class book.  Each student will have a page they will write and illustrate.  We have decided to write a book about the Elmore School!  In your Friday Folders you will find an order form.  Parents have the option to purchase a copy of the book as a keepsake for your student.  As I said this is an option, but not required.  However, I do need everyone to return the order form along with your signature even if you decide NOT to order a book.  If you decide not to order a book, please check the book near the bottom of the form indicating you do not wish to order.  If you choose to order a book, please check your book cover choice and the quantity and include payment in the envelope provided.  All order forms need to be returned with a signature (whether or not you order a book) in order for our class to receive a free copy of the book for our classroom.  Thank you in advance for the opportunity for your child to have their work published in a professionally bound book!  Books should be here before the end of the school year.

We also began a new unit on Maps, Geography, and Communities this week.  In this unit students will learn about various types of communities (urban, suburban, and rural), and identify features of their own community.  We will be learning various map features and well as explore different types of maps.  Finally, students will learn various geographical features (towns, states, counties, continents, the world).  We will conclude this unit by looking more closely at Elmore (community, maps, and geography) and students will create their own representation of what they learn.

On Friday, we had a virtual field trip to the Billings Farm.  Students were introduced to a variety of new baby animals residing on the farm.  Some animals we saw were, chicks, bunnies, kids (baby goats), and calves.  If you are looking for something to do this weekend the farm is taking reservation for visiting.  Click here for more information.

On Friday, we also did the next step in an art project inspired by Henri Matisse.  Matisse is known for his bright use of colors and shapes.  Finished projects will be 3 dimensional “egg” sculptures.  Students used shapes cut from paper which are molded over a balloon using a glue mixture.  Stay tuned for finished projects next week!

With the warm weather this past week it is easy for us to put winter behind us.  Please be mindful of the weather changes over the next several weeks.  We know that in Vermont, there will be many cool days ahead and possibly even more snow.  Be aware that students will need warm layers and appropriate shoes/boots.  In an effort to keep the classroom clean, all students should have a pair of shoes to wear inside and another pair of shoes for the playground. 

3rd graders will be taking SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment) in May.  They will have a couple of days to practice prior to administration of the test.  As I narrow down the schedule for administration of the assessment I will let you know, but right now I am looking at the second or third week in May.  The SBAC is a standardized test required by the State of Vermont which all 3rd graders need to take.  There is a math component and a reading / writing component.   The test will be given over the course of four days with each session lasting 11/2 (or more if needed) hours.  All assessments are taken on student computers / iPads.  There will be a writing component which will require students to type an essay.  At this point, we have not had a lot of practice with this skill, so I hope to allow more opportunity for students to practice typing between now and the test.  

Best,
Diane Nicholls

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