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3rd Blog – 1/27

We are continuing to read Because of Winn-Dixie and learning all about the main character, Opal. We thought that she was kind because she rescued Winn-Dixie, but we realized that it extended to people too when she asked Miss Franny to be her friend. We dug deeper into her personality to theorize why Opal is like this. We thought it might be because she’s lonely after moving to a new town and not having any friends. The thing she wants the most is to have friends. We are transferring these comprehension skills to the books we are reading in our book clubs. Ask us about our main character. 

We chose our opinion thesis and began drafting. First we wrote everything we knew about our topic. Then we organized the information using colored pencils. After coming up with three reasons why we thought our thesis was true, we added details for each reason. We also thought about our audience and added information that is emotional and persuasive. Soon we’ll begin working on our introduction and conclusion, editing, and then publish our piece!

We continued our journey through the history of New York. Last we left off, Hudson claimed the land around the Hudson River for the Dutch. About 20 years later, the Dutch West India Company was founded, with the intended purpose of starting a colony in the New World and trading. They claimed land from Delaware all the way to New England, and claimed New Amsterdam (modern day Manhattan) as their capital. We learned all about what daily life was like. We learned what their houses looked like (with a split door), what food they ate (every meal included bread), and children played a lot of the same games we play today! We were surprised to learn that school was free and open to boys and girls. We were very surprised to find out what chores the children were responsible for! It was definitely different from the chores we do today (if any!). A highlight this week was visiting the Wyckoff House Museum. We spent time in the one room (!) house where all 13 members of the Wyckoff family lived. We felt beaver pelt and a butter churn, and even wrote with a quill and ink!


It’s happening!! This week, after much practice doing “break it up” multiplication (87 x 3 = 80×3 + 7×3), we finally introduced the standard algorithm for multiplication. Many 3rd graders felt that they didn’t even need to learn it because they were so confident with break-it-up multiplication. 3rd graders embraced “up and down multiplication” and quickly got to work quizzing each other and practicing the algorithm, paying special attention to when to regroup and to keeping track of the ones and tens that are regrouped. I’m excited to begin applying these new multiplication skills to word problems!

On another note, I introduced another multiplication review game this week, on a website called Blooket.com. This is a website that allows educators to upload question sets and then use those as flashcards for games for students. Today we played Cafe, which lets 3rd graders answer multiplication questions to cook food, and then serve food to customers, whose money in turn can be used to further upgrade their Cafe. I was sternly directed to “please send my parents this game” and “don’t be one of those grownups who says they’re going to send an email and then they don’t.” You can set up Blooket with their Senesh gmail account (Sign up > Log in with Google) and they should be able to find practice sets to play games with :).


In Music class, Third Graders have learned the C, C7 and G chords on the ukulele, so they can now play the first part of my song, My Dog has Fleas! They’ve also continued learning to read ukulele music. Heads up that the G chord is a harder one, so it is going to take a few weeks to get into our hand/fingers. Please make sure your child definitely practices their G chord every day! Steady practice and persistence is key!



In STEAM, students wrapped up their unit on Google Doc skills by learning to use spell check, highlight words, and make bulleted, numbered, and checked lists. Then, to show how much we have learned, students put together a toolbar puzzle where they needed to label almost every part of the Google Docs toolbar. We still need reminders at time and practice, but their 3rd graders are officially able to use Google Docs for classwork. 

We have now begun our next mini unit, the Scientific Method. Students were presented with 6 steps of the scientific method and had to debate what order they went in. We are now living those steps as scientists by working through short experiments. Our first experiment was sink or float. The question? Would a lemon and an orange sink or float? Students had some great discussions about weight, what makes something float, and the word density was even brought up a few times. Many were surprised to find that the orange floated while the lemon sunk. As scientists, we then revisited the scientific method to ask some new questions and ultimately we set off to discover how we could make an orange sink. We had a lot of laughs as we tried to do things like poke holes, squeeze out juice, tape it down, weigh it down, and stuff marbles inside. We even carved the orange like a jack-o-lantern at some point! Ultimately, through our attempts to sink the orange, we discovered that the peel of an orange acts like a floatation device.

Judaics with Shira

Third Graders finished a significant unit in Chumash class. We concluded the unit with an independent assessment and a celebration! For our independent assessment, students were challenged to demonstrate two new text skills: identifying a word as either a name, place, or verb, and identifying a verb as either male, female, or plural. It was great to see that the students have mastered these new skills after all our practice this year. Something that the students noticed is that in all the p’sukim (verses) that we learned, there were many male and plural verbs, but only one female verb. Students asked, why is this so? I challenged them to think about whether this is an important question, and what is significant about this information. They had many interesting insights about gender and the stories in the Torah. To enhance this conversation, we looked at a website of the Toratah project, a gender reversing bible, https://www.beittoratah.org/about. We concluded the unit by reading the verses that we had learned in chumash, from the site.

To celebrate all our hard work, we watched the movie “Joseph King of Dreams” which coincides with some recent parashot from the torah, and with the stories that students will study in chumash in fifth grade.