2015-2016 School Year

Below are weekly newsletters about what is happening in our classroom. Click on the date to see the full weekly newsletter.

If you need to reach me, the best way is by email kelly.pier@mpls.k12.mn.us.

Newsletter Week Ending 10/04/19
Friday, October 4, 2019 5:35 PM

Hello Families,

(Did you see the gorgeous moon last night? 1st Quarter Moon tomorrow !)
The students worked hard today and yet we also had time for fun!  We took our graphing math test, had a spelling test, wrote our weekly reflections (plus had them edited) and some even still had time to work on their constellation stories. As well as having our normal Friday Fun plus the extra time they earned during the Fun Run.
Students should be working on/finishing up their constellation rough drafts (every other line for the rough draft), having me or an adult help them edit, and begin write/finish their final copies (single space/one side). Students should be done with their constellation story rough draft by Monday, October 7th. Almost everyone is done with at least a quality rough draft. Yeah! Check out StarDate.org for inspiring constellations and information.
Picture Day 10/4 went well.  We were able to sneak in before gym class and The students waited politely and patiently to have their photo taken. 
Today ( 10/4 ) we  heard from Philip Kauth from Seed Savers and Mr. Steve Helland, Phoebe's father, about the wonderful world of diverse apples and what Seed Savers does. Thank you, Philip , Steve, Mrs. Saly and Phoebe, 😃who helped pass out apple samples. We enjoyed sampling a few heirloom apple varieties and voting for our favorite heirloom apple. Check out Seedsavers.org
"Since 1975, we have grown, saved, and shared heirloom seeds and led a movement to protect biodiversity and preserve heirloom varieties. At the heart of our organization is a seed bank that houses a collection of 20,000+ rare, open-pollinated varieties. With gardeners like you, we can get these seeds where they belong—in gardens and on tables everywhere, for generations to come.

When seeds are in our bank, they are protected. When seeds are growing in your garden, they thrive.Thank you for growing with us."

All  papers in your child's Homework Folder can stay home unless the paper(s) is unfinished work to bring back to school. The Graphing Math Workbook is now to be kept home for extra practice.
We will be starting our new groups for Numbers to 1,000 the 7th of October.   Check with your child to see who their math teacher is and what the math class homework policy is.  It changes a little bit by teacher.  The children will switch daily to the "new math class" but everyone is learning the same standards just at a different speed and a variety in the depth of knowledge/application of their math knowledge for classwork.

*October 10th- Apple Crunch Day in the lunchroom. Encourage students to bring an apple to eat at lunch. We will be counting down to crunch and getting stickers to celebrate.


· October 31st -Harvest Party 2:45 - 3:45. Students will be able to wear costumes at our Harvest Party. Costumes must be character or book characters, super heroes are OK, but ghosts and scary things are not.

The spelling plan has changed a little since curriculum night as well.  I am going to use the 8 words from our Benchmark Literacy curriculum (this week it is long a words).  Plus the first 5 on the Greek/Latin words list.  Then all the other words off of that list are bonus words.  Finally,  I will dictate a sentence at the end  of the test that uses one of the Benchmark words and will be graded for capitalization, punctuation and spelling.
Our literacy groups are coming along nicely.  Everyone (including me) is getting in the habit of looking at the back board for the assignments, marking due dates on the papers and completing the sentences using part of the question in the answer.  Another piece is the group discussion about what grade they would give the work (based on the star system hanging at the literacy table), stating why and how it could be improved, plus what was good about it.  I've found this type of discussion is helpful to their learning in conjunction to them completing the initial work.
Have a great weekend.


Newsletter Week Ending 09/20/19
Friday, September 20, 2019 5:30 PM

Dear Families,

Yesterday's field trip (although very hot) went quite well.  I think the children really enjoyed the many interactive stations we went to.  I will be sending pictures later today.  I can only send about 4 at a time though or the file is to big and bounces back.  There are around 80 total photos that I took (don't worry I won't sent them all).  Thanks a ton to our chaperones Dave and Ingrid.  The stations we went to were (not in order) candle making, painter, tin worker, Teddy Roosevelt, one room school house, Grasslake speaker, wood joiner and another one (can't remember the name sorry).  Most of the stations were interactive this year so the children were very engaged and other than the heat seemed to really enjoy and learn from the day.  I would like to thank the PTA for funding the buses.  This year the Field trip bus policy is very restrictive due to a shortage of school bus drivers so we ended up going to/from on coach buses.  Besides the air conditioning on the ride home, it was great because without our very supportive PTA we would have had to cancel this trip.  Also, I want to thank all of you for agreeing to buy the field trip shirts.  The presenters all commented on how easy it is to speak to the children by name and it really helps to keep the group together as well.  Not to mention how cute the shirts are thanks to the winning artist (Sydney).
This week we learned how to make and interpret a double bar graph.  Next week we will be working with line plots and continuing to focus on the math vocabulary (maximum, median, mode, minimum, range, data cluster, outlier).  I am incorporating writing an literacy into math by working with the students to write their answers in a complete sentence using part of the question in their answer.  This is really helps with their literacy comprehension as well.  The way we do this is number the words from the question in the order we are going to use them in the answer then write them out with the answer.  For example:
  How do most students at  Parks School get to school?  
               1      2                  5      6       3    4                Most students get to Parks School by.....
Another important part of our math/literacy learning is underlining the key words in the problem.  These may or may not include the numbered words.   Third grade math starts to require reading comprehension as well as the ability to do the computation.  So it is very important that we teach/learn these skills early in the year to be successful.  You can help at home by going over math homework and reminding your child to do the underlining and numbering like in the example above.  The same with their literacy homework.
For science this week we watched a few videos related to the Sun and moon.  Took notes and shared them with classmates then added to our notes up to five things a classmate had in their notes that your child didn't already have.  This helps to teach cooperation and note taking, while they learn about a core subject area.  Next week we will be learning about shadows.
Everyone began their literacy groups this week.  A big focus is the numbering and answering in complete sentences.  As well as identifying the key words in the questions.  For some of the groups we are beginning to understand how to infer the answer and not just find exact answers in the text.  This can be a big jump in knowledge and is a bit uncomfortable for some children to begin with but they usually pick it up fairly quickly once they realize it is something they do all day everyday in their lives interacting with others.  I also began the read aloud Gooney Bird Greene.  For this we learn how to write deep connections.  A deep connection has a connection to the book and self/another text/world, plus emotion for both and reasoning.  This is something you can do at home by asking what an story, tv show or other makes your child think of.  Then talk about how they felt and why plus the characters on the show/story etc.

Connection Rubric:

Shallow: No connection or connection is very weakShmallow: Connection and one other piece on the Teeter Totter

Medium: A connection and either reasoning or emotion

Meep: A connection and both sides of either reasoning/emotion plus one side of the other

Deep:  A full connection, reasoning and emotion

Connection: Ties 2 or more events together    {Text to Text, Text to Self, or Text to World}

Reasoning: Tells why each part is happening

Emotion: States an emotion relating to the connection or reasoning

(Text:) When I read__________________________________________________________________


(Self, text or world:) It made me think of __________________________________________________


(Emotion ) Which made me feel ________________________________________________________


(Reasoning ) Because_________________________________________________________________


(Why did the character do something or the event happen: Reasoning)__________________________


(How did the character or things affect those in the book: Emotion) _________________________________


Teeter Totter Grading

Circle the piece below as you find them in your connection.


          Text Self



-Kelly Pier


Newsletter Week Ending 09/13/19
Friday, September 13, 2019 5:00 PM

Dear Families,

Please excuse the tardiness of this weeks newsletter.  I am fighting off some sort of bug and spent the much of yesterday sleeping so I didn't get to my communications.  
Anyway, I want to start by saying thank you to those individuals who are sending in things to help out in the classroom.  We really appreciate it.  To make it easier to know if someone has already purchased what we are asking for I have made an Amazon wish list (thanks Sara for the idea- not sure why I didn't think of it earlier).  If you search for Kelly Pier Classroom Wish List on Amazon you should be able to see what we are in need of.  If you find the items from somewhere else and purchase them I can adjust the wish list to reflect that.  I'm just as happy with a dark flat sheet that is not needed/used from someone's linen closet as one we get from Amazon.  Here is a link that you should be able to follow to get to our wishlist.
In the classroom we stepped up the academics a bit and moved more into the daily routine we will be following.  A big part of this is teaching the children how to use the priority list to determine what they need to work on.  It is an organizational skill that will help them in years to come with their schooling and life.  They first learn how to use it and once they learn that it is an effective tool they will start learning how to make a list for themselves.  The making a list for themselves isn't usually something we get to in third grade though.  Unless they have a day planner that they write their assignments in on their own.  This would be something that would be helpful to many students but is not a required part of the third grade supply list partly because many 3rd graders aren't ready to start doing this yet at this part of the school year.  It is something that they would be more ready to do after winter break.  
We have continued to read a picture book or two a day and talked about what the terms mean and when they are demonstrated in the story.  Then the children write about a time they demonstrated the profile/attitude.  Last Monday they shared their work with other students and throughout the week as I was reading stories I noticed an increase in their identifying the terms we have already learned throughout our stories.  I encourage you to use the terms from the profiles and attitudes in your daily conversations as well.  This will help solidify the learning and make the ideas part of your child's day to day life and keep them very relevant.
inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, reflective,  appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance
For math we have started learning specifically about the parts of a bar graph (title, key, scale, labels) and what the data means (maximum, minimum, range, mode, data cluster).  How a person can make statements of facts by interpreting the data (something we need a lot more work on).  Also how to make a frequency chart using tallies and heading titles.  We will keep learning about this at school this week.  One way to use the math papers that were in the packet I sent home earlier is to use them and ask your child to explain if they learned about any of it on that day or if not ask them to draw /explain what they did learn.  This should give you an idea of where your child is in their learning mastery as compared to the skills we are working on.  
Last week we began learning to write in cursive as well.  Each week we try to learn three more letters.  We don't due cursive on Thursday or Fridays, due to kinderbuddies and weekly reflections.  This week we learned the cursive lower case i, t, and u.  If your child is struggling with cursive or likes art, changing the letters to art is a fun way to practice the cursive and be creative at the same time.  I have a few copies in the classroom that they can use as well.  Check out this link if you are interested.
This week we also began meditation after recess.  Right now we are only doing a three minute meditation but it will increase slowly as the year progresses.  I use the Headspace app in case you'd like to get it for yourselves as well.  Some families have found this helps their children deal with anxiety, anger or stress at home as well.  It is particularly handy since your child will know what to expect.  That makes it easier for them to use it outside of school as well.   It is a skill like reading, writing or math and can be very challenging for children to do.  
Monday starting at 9:45 we will be taking the fall Bridge test for literacy and math.  I hadn't mentioned it to the children because I don't want anyone getting stressed out or worried about it.  If you talk about the test at home please just discuss it as an assignment that they will do their best on like for anything else.  It isn't a big deal and is just one measurement as to how they are doing.  That it is meant to give me (the teacher) details about what skills individuals need to work on learning, nothing else.
The last big thing from this week is the science we did.  They used a marble, index cards, paper plate and book to determine what would happen to the moon if the Earth stopped pulling on it.  Ask them about this experiment: what went well?  how could you have improved the experiment? did your's work the same as other people in your group? If not why?  what was your hypothesis?  They have also read a lot of the science book for this unit and we have been doing work around those materials.   How (if at all) did this experiment relate to the new merry go rounds on the playground?  Hopefully this coming weeek we will get the opprounity to learn about shadows and the movement of the sun.
Have a great weekend.
Kelly Pier
Lake Harriet Community School
4030 Chowen Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55410


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