Archive for November, 2010

Cranberry Day

Cranberry Day was a day filled with both learning and fun. Students visited a variety of stations in the classroom to work with and learn about cranberries. In the afternoon, we joined the other third grade classrooms for some cranberry taste testing! Thanks to all of you who sent in cranberries and Craisins!

Posted on November 29th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  4 Comments »

Dear Families:

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you, like me, had a chance to visit with cherished friends and family! Thanks to all who sent in cranberries and Craisins for our pre-Thanksgiving Cranberry Day. It was a lot of hands-on learning and fun! Pictures and videos will be posted here soon. The link to the videos can be found on the right hand side of the page under the heading “Videos”.

Can you believe that we have officially finished 1/3 of our third grade year? Time seems to go by faster with each passing year. As we begin this new term, I will be talking with the children about revised expectations. Just getting work “done” will no longer be enough. The bar will be raised on the quality of work that is accepted. I will emphasize accuracy over speed. They should come to school ready to try their best every day. It would be great if you could also discuss this at home. They are ready and I know they can do it!

We spent a great deal of time during the first term learning about “Question/Answer Relationships” or “QARs”. This strategy taught the children about the types of questions (Right There, Think & Search, Author & Me, and On My Own) that they have encountered or will encounter and where they, the student, will find the answers to the questions. Will the answer be right there in the story? Will you have to search for different parts of the answer all through the story? Will you have to think about what you learned in the passage and think about what you already know about that topic to come up with the answer or will you just have to use what you know to answer the question?

This term, we will move on to answering Open Response Questions (ORQs). ORQs are a way for children to demonstrate their comprehension of a given text through writing.  When answering open response questions, students will use what they have learned about Question/Answer Relationships and build upon that by learning how to turn their answers into well thought out paragraphs that include specific evidence from the text to support their answer. We will practice this together weekly.

Finally, please watch for notices confirming your parent-teacher conference appointment time to come home this week. If you have not scheduled a time to come in and meet with me, please call or send an email to set something up. December 7th is the afternoon set aside by the district for us to meet but I am also available some mornings before school and most afternoons after school. I will do my very best to work around your schedule.

Until Next Time,

Ms. Sawyer

Posted on November 29th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

“American Education Week” & Other Excellent Happenings!

This is going to be a busy week for us here in Room 202! Let me share some of what we will be doing in addition to our academics:

1. We are going to be celebrating “American Education Week” along with countless other schools all around our great nation! We will be doing this in an amazing way! Tune in and watch our…


This Thursday afternoon (11/18), the 3rd Grade will be broadcasting LIVE for National Education Week.


at about 1:30ish.  This is the first time we have tried this so PLEASE be patient with us–one hundred third graders, one webcam, some required advertisements, the nature of technology, and five nervous teachers – it could be a bumpy ride.  Hang in there with us and I am sure it will be worth it!

2. We will be helping to sort Mullen-Hall Food Drive donations for the Falmouth Service Center. If possible, please send in your non-perishable donations (canned veggies, stuffing mixes, etc.) to help out this worthy cause!

3. On Friday afternoon we will have the privilege of meeting and listening to Olympian, Meb Keflezighi, speak about his 2004 silver medal, 2009 NYC marathon victory, his move from Africa to the U.S. and about his work as an author. You can visit Meb’s website at:

Also, Next Tuesday (11/23) is CRANBERRY DAY!!!  I am welcoming donations of bags of Cranberries and Craisins. Thank you for your support!

Posted on November 14th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Plimoth Plantation

Posted on November 10th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

What’s happening during Writer’s Workshop?

In 2007, when your children were in kindergarten, the Falmouth Public Schools adopted the Lucy Calkins Writing Program.  This is the first group of children that we have had in third grade that have been using “Lucy” (as we call it here) in all of their years of school here. It is very interesting to see the difference that has had in the knowledge and comfort level of the students with their writing. Each lesson consists of a whole group mini-lesson to help guide and improve each child’s writing, independent writing time during which I circulate and confer with individual writers, and a sharing time which allows each child to share some of their writing with the class.

So far this year, our focus has been on how to generate ideas to write about during writer’s workshop (make a list, write from a word, focus on a person/place/thing that is important to you), choosing “seed” ideas vs. “watermelon” ideas and getting our ideas on paper without worrying so much if it is “just right”. We are now writing our first complete personal narrative or “small moment” story. The children have:

  • Chosen a seed idea
  • Written a “discovery draft” that allows them to get the complete story down on paper
  • Learned about different types of leads (action, setting, & dialogue) that would pull the reader into the story. They then wrote each type of lead for their story and then chose the lead that they liked best to begin their story.
  • Found the “treasure” in their story by using words to show what they were thinking, saying, feeling, hearing and seeing while the story was taking place.
  • Learned about “powerful endings” and created a new ending that includes action, dialogue, details about the setting and reminds the reader of all the important parts of the story.
  • This week, we will learn about the differences between revising (making the story better with important details, “juicy words”, etc.) and editing (fixing the spelling and punctuation).

They will then write the final draft and these will be ready to share with you at parent-teacher conferences next month. Ask your child about his/her story today!

Posted on November 8th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Massachusetts Regions Written by: Julie

In class we are making posters to learn about five different regions in Massachusetts: Cape Cod, the North and South Shores, Central Massachusetts, the Pioneer Valley and the “Purple Hills”. Each group has at least three people in it. Using our Massachusetts, Our Home textbook, we have to write information on the bodies of water, animals, plants and any other information we can find. We also have to include plenty of color and pictures on our posters. On the posters we also have the names of the people in our group and the region we are studying and writing about.

Article by: Julie

Posted on November 6th, 2010 by hsawyer  |  1 Comment »