Friday, April 20, 2018




We have a great opportunity to exercise our reading skills using IXL's Language Arts programs. 

IXL Access Cards

Normally we only have access to IXL Math. Now, for a short trial period, we can access the very cool IXL reading skills feature. 

So, perfect timing, eh? Next up, and sadly our last MAP test for the year, will be reading. 

So far third graders have been super fantastic MAP test takers. 

So let's pull a hat trick with strong reading scores, too. Okay? We can do it! 

You and IXL can help. 

The Language Arts sections to practice will be Third Grade P, U, V, X and Y.  

Those sections focus on skills we'll likely encounter on the MAP test. 

Have fun! The kids love IXL.

And contact me if you have any access issues. 

In other news...

We did a lot of off-screen reading this week, too. 

And a lot of figuring. 

And a lot of good healthy snacking!

Enjoy your weekend! 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Good Luck!


Before this week's photos, I'd like to remind you that we will conduct MAP testing over the next two weeks. MAP measures academic progress. 

I am sure each student will do her or his best, if you do two things to help.

High Octane

Nature rules!

First, see that your child gets a good night's sleep. I saw a few worrisome yawns this week. 

Second, have your child eat a healthy, low sugar, breakfast

Oatmeal with banana, cinnamon, and natural yogurt is a simple dish that provides sustained energy and nutrients throughout the morning.  

Sweet foods (i.e. simple carbohydrates) can raise energy levels quickly but drop them just as fast. Think about how you feel 30 minutes or so after a big lunch with rice, pasta, potatoes or bread. Sleepy, right? But you probably perk yourself up with caffeine. The kids don't have that option (thankfully). 

So, two things: Sleep, and a healthy breakfast. Thanks!

Deeper thinking 

How many straight lines make a circle? 

Pondering our straight horizon and round Earth

Wild Insights

Reading, Thinking, Writing Prompts

Simple Machines

We've started a science unit on simple machines. Yay!

Lever and fulcrum 

Force distribution
Centrifugal force 

Virtual Rollercoaster ride

Lots more simple machine work to come. Yay!

Unpacking Superstition

Since 'Friday the 13th' is often seen as a bad luck day, we decided to do a literacy lesson that examines the history of superstition in general. 

The Philosophical One

Ask your child about Stevie Wonder's advice or anything else from the week. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Smidgen



We have been using a new assessment tool called Skills Navigator (SN). 


SN assesses reading, writing, and math skills at a micro-level; meaning, the program can show a range of individual capabilities, from mastery to needs more work. 


SN is a welcomed tool that you’ll hear more about in the near future.


Our Spring Break books were a hit! 

And the kids returned fresh and ready to keep learning. No long break derailments! 

Maybe a smidgen of thought-provoking and sparing work helped? 

As a result, I have proposed a Homework 10-Day Challenge. 


Participation is purely elective. A lot of kids signed on. Super! The content will cover various third grade skills in math and language arts. Same deal as Spring Break: just a few questions a day. 


We shared the epic tale of Don Quixote! And then we summed it up in 20 words or less. 

Concise summation is an important exercise for third graders. Please be asking about stories you know your third grader read. 

Also, ask why she or he thinks the “author” wrote the story. What was the point?


Here's a brainy gift a student brought in and shared. Very cool! So much return for such a small price, right? 


Spring Break afforded some time to spruce up the room. 

We love the sofa!


We had an impromptu visit from a nurse working with the Muso project here in Mali. 

Muso has made a significant impact on improved healthcare in Bamako. 

Here's an article about the project. Click here to read.


The kids turned me on to this fun website for educational games. 

I so approve!  Notice that it's leveled for third grade skills. Nice, eh? Click here to have a go.

That's all for now folks!  

Enjoy your weekend! 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring Splash!


It's the most wonderful time of the year! 

Our beautiful pool has opened!!

Pencil Problems

Here is a sample of pencils I've seen in class. I wish we provided pencils, and we do when we can, but pencils are like lunch or snacks -- it's a family thing.  

Since most third graders are developing writers, which includes the mechanics of using a pencil, they need the best tools for the job.

This week we looked at the history of pencils and how they have been made since the 16th century. Fascinating stuff! 

Now we need you to purchase a quality set for your child's last quarter. 

Some kids actually liked the tiny chewed up ones without realizing those were not ideal for building nimble writing skills. I think they all understand now.

Fun Facts

We're spending more time (Time!) with non-fiction. 

Time for Kids is an excellent resource to help anyone understand factual and interesting information about a wide span of topics. It's smart reading and even set to grade levels.

You can access Time for Kids online free here

Let your child explore Time for Kids and be sure to ask her or him to "sum it up" each time. 

That is, summarize any article in 20 words or less with details to support the main idea. 

A Sparkling Farewell

We spent the day knowing that we'd be saying farewell to a joyful presence in our class and school. 

 And so it goes in international schools. Good energy is shared and warm memories remain. 

Spring Break 

Last thing, the kids have a Spring Break packet with four questions to answer each day over five days. Honestly, they wanted to do it. Like pencils, the kids want to stay sharp. Only one page (4 questions) per day please, if you can. 

Enjoy your Spring Break!

Saturday, March 17, 2018


What's wrong with this picture? Read on...


First, please remember that swimming will resume this coming week. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be third grade swim days. There will be one dry PE day to be announced soon. 

Likeness Fun

Here are our much talked about portraits. Pretty exact, eh? 

The kids blended hues to create skin tones and some attached symbols from their family culture. 

In all, it was an insightful mix of collaboration for Mother Tongue Week. 

A reading/living highlight from 
The Rechargeables!

What a perfect book for "Mr. Johnson's" constant rantings, right?  Eat, Move, Sleep!

Ask your child to retell the story for you, please. 

The ability to concisely retell a story is a skill third graders (among others) need to develop. 

Wordy Math

We're doing more multi-step word problems these days. Ask your child to solve this one and to write out the number sentence.

Clark and his brother Kent played floor hockey in their living room. Each goal was worth 2 points. Clark scored 6 points. Kent scored 8 points. How many goals did they score altogether? 

Shhh! Answer: (6 + 8) ÷ 2 = 7

One-problem homework, wow, that should be doable. And I'll be asking who solved the problem, as I always do with blogged questions to you.

Sustained Reading Improves Attentiveness 

Click here for video

This three minute segment from the PBS Newshour claims reading books could strengthen a child's or an adult's ability to pay attention in general. I totally agree with the suggestion.  Three minutes! 

That's all for this week.

Eat, Move, Sleep, Solve and Read Well,