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3rd blog – 5/12

Play, play, play! Students have been practicing for our end of year celebration and the New York play. We are working on learning our lines, following cues, and remembering song lyrics and dance moves. It’s coming together so nicely, we can’t wait to share it with all of you!

In between practices, we completed our poetry study! Connecting poetry to our social studies unit, we examined the poem by Emma Lazarus that is on the Statue of Liberty. Students then wrote their own poem for new immigrants. After reviewing all the poems they wrote, students chose three poems to publish. Look out for an anthology of their poems! 

We’re continuing our read aloud Save Me a Seat. We’ve looked at characteristics of the main characters, and are surprised at the more we learn about them. Hearing from both perspectives gives us insight into how people make assumptions.

Using our read aloud and short texts, we are also practicing comprehension strategies in preparation for Milestones assessments next week, on Monday and Tuesday. The students will take 2 assessments which are approx. 45 minutes long. One is in reading comprehension and the second is in math. We make every effort to keep these low-key and explain that the assessments provide teachers with feedback on our instruction. We encourage students to do their best but let them know that their scores will not be shared with anyone other than the school and their parents.


In Music class, our Third Graders have been working hard on The Erie Canal song. It’s amazing to see/hear how skillful they’ve become. Now we’re coming into the home stretch – practice, practice, practice!


In math, we wrapped up area and perimeter last week with a short quiz, and then began a mixed review of shape skills and vocabulary, such as obtuse/acute/straight/right angles, using protractors to measure angles, naming angles and shapes, and determining lines of symmetry. Quizzes covering the 7s and 8s multiplication tables went well this week and last week. A healthy amount of games were played to practice these new math concepts and vocabulary 🙂 

The general shapes/geometry review has been helpful for some of the  vocabulary and concept oriented questions the 3rd graders might encounter on their ERB tests. For test prep, we’ve continued taking practice tests for just 10 minutes once a week and reviewing the benefits of taking educated guesses, setting aside questions to return to later, and reminding ourselves that the ERBs are just another test. 



The 3rd graders have focused on the caissons and cables of the Brooklyn Bridge over the past two weeks in STEAM. They have had so many amazing questions along the way, particularly with the caisson which can be challenging to understand. We did an experiment to show how air takes up space and we proved that a cup is never truly empty. If you hand your student a cup and a post it note, they can show you this experiment! I then used a model of a caisson (a container with a hole, a straw, and a balloon) to show the 3rd graders how air pressure removed the water inside a caisson so the workers could be in there. We then moved onto understanding the airlocks through some imagination and through a diary entry of a sand-hog (a caisson worker). 

To better understand the size of the main cables, we did some cable math and built a replica of one. A main cable has 19 strands inside. Each strand has 278 wires. This means each main cable has 5,282 wires, all 4 main cables have 21,128 wires, and the Brooklyn Bridge also has a lot of vertical and diagonal stays. That’s a lot of cables! For the replica, we counted out 278 pipe cleaners as a class to build one stand. We then measured the diameter of the strand and found that it was about 4 inches. Finally, we made 19 circles with a diameter of 4 inches and taped them together to build one main cable. The third graders were so surprised at how large the main cable was! We can’t wait to show you our replicas at the 3rd grade play.


After all the holidays the past few weeks, third graders jumped back into chumash and the Lech Lecha story. We saw that two of our main characters actually had significant name changes by the end of the parsha. Avram’s name becomes Avraham, and Sarai’s name becomes Sarah. While these were relatively small changes in their names, we noticed that they still made a big impact. Some students saw these words in the text, and did not know they were talking about the same people at first! We talked about the significance of names, and shared personal experiences around names. Students shared feeling upset when people mispronounced their names and stories of family members changing names in connection with immigration. We used these personal experiences to think about why Avram and Sarai’s names might be changed at this point in the story.

This week was all about lag Ba’Omer!