Adventures in Third Grade-Week 17

I wanted to thank all who were able to make it to our OTA Native American Museum. The grand opening was a huge success!

Our guiding question was “How can we, as docents, educate museum visitors about Native Americans?”. I hope you found that our docents did their job well! I know I am very proud of them. To see the pride they took in their role and in their final product was worth every ounce of hard work they ALL put in to this project. SO proud of them:)

I am out of the classroom until we return to school on Tuesday so our weekly blog is a bit early. We do have celebrations to acknowledge and I will do that in next week’s post.

I hope you all enjoy the long weekend and if you get a chance, please ask your student why Monday is more than just a day off from school.

Important Dates and Reminders

  • Friday, January 18th: Free Dress Day! Congrats on bringing in over 280 pairs of socks.
  • Monday, January 21st: No school, MLK Holiday
  • February 1st: Last Day of the 2nd Quarter and dismissal at noon

Curriculum Highlights

Daily Morning Meeting: Our word for this week as ENCOURAGE with our mantra being, “I encourage myself and others with my actions and words”. We talked about the difference between encourage and discourage (and how those prefixes change the meaning of the word courage). We shared what types of words and actions make you encourage others or feel encouraged by others.

Reader’s Workshop: As we are closing up various units, we took the week to focus on Martin Luther King, Jr. Students read a variety of stories about Dr. King recalling important events and facts from his life. They also will compare and contrast Dr. King with the famous baseball player, Jackie Robinson-again using evidence from the text to support their reasoning.

Writer’s Workshop: I think it’s safe to say each student in third grade has met the learning target of writing a paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence. As we put a close on this unit, we wrote about what our dream is for a better country.

Math: We are now in Topic 6 which focuses on the relationship between area and multiplication. Students are completing their Restaurant Project where they are designing a restaurant and calculating the area of the space needed for tables, a kitchen and greeting station.

Read Aloud: Bradley Chalkers has worked through his anger about his counselor, and friend, Carla being transferred out of his school. It’s looking like even though Bradley reverted to his old ways, the support he got from his family has helped him work through his anger. We’re seeing him return to the positive changes he has made. Now we are left wondering if Bradley and Jeff will show up to Colleen’s birthday party.

Social Studies: We are now officially finished with our Native American Unit. We begin our science unit on Human Body Systems next week.

Have a wonderful weekend!

OTA Native American Museum to Open Its Doors!

The OTA Native American Museum is set to open its doors on Wednesday, January 16th at 2:15pm!

There is much buzz about what this museum offers its visitors so to give you a sneak peak, here are some things you can expect to see and learn:

  • Featured tribes from the Southwest, Southeast and Eastern Woodlands
  • Detailed map highlighting the Native Americans who lived in each of these regions
  • Information on the Land Bridge Theory
  • Models of the homes these tribes lived in
  • The importance of Native American Legends
  • The role corn played in the lives of Native Americans
  • The art of basket weaving
  • Dreamcatchers and their purpose

And to help you walk through this educational museum, we have 28 very knowledgeable docents who will assist you:) Admission is free.

We all look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!


Adventures in Third Grade-Week 16

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful winter break. The OTA Foundation Holiday Gift Card Drive has begun. If you have any unused gift cards valued over $10 that you would like to donate, they are for our Spring Fundraiser. You can send them to school with your student and I will be collecting them through January 18th.

Important Dates and Reminders

  • January 11-January 18th: OTA Foundation Holiday Gift Card Drive
  • Wednesday, January 16th: Native American Museum Opening! Museum hours: 2:15-2:45pm. Hope to see you there!
  • Friday, January 18th: FREE DRESS DAY! Congrats to our class for collecting 280 pairs of socks for the sock drive.
  • Monday, January 21: MLK holiday, no school
  • February 1st: Last Day of the 2nd quarter, minimum day with dismissal at noon

Curriculum Highlights

Daily Morning Meeting: This week we focused on our Core Virtue of COURAGE with a mantra of “I am courageous even when things are unknown to me”. We spent some time discussing, sharing and working together on encouraging one another and being aware of the words we use with others and how those words either encourage or discourage others.

Reader’s Workshop: This week we practiced asking and answering questions to demonstrate our understanding of what we’ve read. We used the book “Because of Winn-Dixie” (great book) to guide us in asking questions with details from the text as well as answering those questions with details. We also took our Language Arts MAPS winter assessment.

Writer’s Workshop: We completed the final draft of our paragraph about the homes our Native American tribe lived in which means we have completed all of the writing for our project! Very proud of the growth I’ve seen from these kiddos with their paragraph writing.

Math: We did some review of multiplication and division as we moved on to Topic 6: Connecting Area to Multiplication and Addition. We read the math story “Spaghetti and Meatballs for All” which introduced the topics of area and perimeter. We then drafted our own restaurant while calculating the area of the tables. This is a very fun unit! We also completed our winter MAPS assessment.

Read Aloud: Bradley Chalkers continues to surprise us and teach us just how much a character can change and develop in a story. He actually did his homework-even if he ended up putting it in the trash. He actually made friends and he actually got invited to a birthday party. But then, he gets some bad news and we’re left wondering if he’ll go back to the way he was or continue to be the person he has become. Big changes for Bradley and the kids are loving this book:)

Word Work: We learned about pronouns and how they replace other nouns in a sentence. We also were introduced to abstract nouns which are the kind of nouns you can’t see, hear or touch…like knowledge and wisdom:) As challenging as these can be, the students did a great job.

Social Studies: We are all in the finishing stages of our Native American Museum Project. The students were given a bucket of materials to try and create a model of a home that their tribe lived in. We have been hard at work and look forward to the celebration of opening our museum doors and sharing our final project with you all!


Congratulations to Peyton whose Osprey ticket was pulled at Friday assembly before break. We had a fun time celebrating this honor together with Jimmy, Uno and pizza! We also wanted to acknowledge that Peyton celebrated his birthday on the very first day of 2019:) We hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Congratulations to Talis, Wyatt Mc. and Jimmy for showing courage this week. These gentleman worked very hard even when things were unknown or a bit tough to find answers to-they just kept going no matter what! Your class is so proud of you all!


Happy Winter Break!

Thank you to everyone who participated in and contributed to our class party today-the students had a great time:) And a big thank you to our room mom, Marie for everything she did to organize such a fun time today. I cannot express enough how grateful I am to have such great families in third grade! Here are some pics from our party:

Over break, Talis will be celebrating his birthday and we wanted to wish him a very Happy Birthday next week! Hope you have a wonderful day, Talis.

Happiest of Holidays to you all! I hope that you enjoy this winter break with family and friends and I’ll see you all in 2019!


Adventures in Third Grade-Week 14

What a week we have had-so busy working on our projects and so excited to show you all our museum in January! Next Wednesday is our last day of school in 2018-hard to believe, but I am looking so forward to a very fun first half of 2019 with these incredible third graders:)

A HUGE thank you to all families who have been participating in the sock drive. So far, our class has collected 204 pairs of socks!

Important Dates and Reminders

  • December 10-18th: OTA’s Annual Sock Drive for Stand Up for Kids
  • December 19th: Half day, dismissal at noon, Ugly Sweater Spirit Day, and our Class Party from 10:30-11:30, parents welcome!
  • December 20-January 4th: Winter Break
  • January 7th: School resumes
  • January 16th: Our OTA Native American Museum doors open at 2:15pm! Hope to see you there:)

Curriculum Highlights

Daily Morning Meeting: This week we continued to focus on our core virtue of SERVICE with a mantra of “I model hard work to be of service to myself and my classmates”. We had a lot of sharing and problem solving this week around how we treat others-especially out at recess.

Reader’s Workshop: As we get closer to finishing up our unit on Native American legends, we’ve really taken a good look at text and what clues it gives us to decide upon their traits. We’ve been taking evidence from the text to further explain just why we believe a character to be the way we perceive them to be. 

Writer’s Workshop: With continued practice writing paragraphs with topic sentences, supporting details, transition words/phrases and concluding sentences, it was time for an  assessment. Students had to read about their tribe’s home and write a paragraph showing evidence of the parts of a paragraph we have been working so hard on. They shared their paragraph with a partner and received feedback from them about their writing. 

Math: Since Topic 4 concluded last Friday, and we’ve been working really hard on multiplication, it was time for a fun math PBL project that allowed us to put our knowledge of multiplication into practice. The students have been given an opportunity to become an Array Architect with a design for a Winter Wonderland Festival. Using arrays, and the properties of multiplication, students are putting together a festival map to submit to “the festival design team”. Once submitted, two plans will be chosen for Snowflake Valley’s annual Winter Wonderland. So far, their designs are amazing!

Read Aloud: Bradley Chalkers, the main character in “There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom” has been beaten up and the only people who know who beat Bradley up are Jeff and the three girls. Ask your student about this-they have never been so quiet and attentive during read aloud:)

Social Studies: Our projects are in full bloom as we move thru our checklists working hard on nonfiction features that can educate others about our tribes. It’s been incredible to watch these students and how much growth they’ve made during this project. I’m very proud of them. Be sure to mark your calendars for our museum opening on January 16th at 2:15pm!

Music, From Ms. King: Third grade just completed their project for Q2. They made a cover of “Jingle Bells,” using the chords they have learned so far this year. Here is a link to the video.


Congratulations to Jonathan, Ivy, Selma, Jacob and CJ C! The kiddos did an incredible job of being of SERVICE this week-especially to themselves and their work. Your class is very proud of you!

Adventures in Third Grade-Week 13

OTA’s Annual Sock Drive for Stand Up for Kids






Let’s show how 3rd grade puts into action the Core Virtue of Service this month by participating in this meaningful event!

Important Dates and Reminders

  • December 10-18th: OTA’s Annual Sock Drive for Stand Up for Kids
  • December 19th: Half day, dismissal at noon and Ugly Sweater Spirit Day
  • December 20-January 4th: Winter Break
  • January 7th: School resumes

Curriculum Highlights

Daily Morning Meeting: December’s core virtue is service which is helping others with a cheerful heart. This week our mantra was “I see opportunities to help others so I do” and it has been so awesome to see these students really step up to show how they are of service to their classmates.

Reader’s Workshop: We finished up our unit on Fables, Folktales and Legends by reading two Native American legends (The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush). Using these legends, we compared and contrasted them, determined character traits of each main character and backed up those traits with evidence from the text, as well as examining the hardship each faced.

Writer’s Workshop: As we continue to work on mastering writing a paragraph that includes a topic sentence, supporting details and a conclusion, we learned how to use transition words and phrases in our detail sentences. At their table groups, students worked together to create a paragraph with all of the above items in their paragraph. They then wrote their paragraph on sentence strips to put in our pocket chart. Each group shared their amazing work (transition words and phrases included:) with the class. I’m very proud of these kiddos-writing paragraphs has not been the easiest task but they all have made SO much growth!

Math: We concluded Topic 4 with an assessment and again, I am very impressed with how well these students are doing with multiplication and division!

Read Aloud: “There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom” has been a great read so far! We discovered why the book has that title as well as how important building trust is in a friendship in order for somebody to feel comfortable sharing their true feelings. 

Social Studies: We are making great progress preparing for our Native American Museum. We further discussed the purpose of a museum and why they exist as well as what a docent is and how their role in our museum is to be just that. We came up with a plan on how to display our dreamcatchers yet at the same time educate our museum visitors about them. Plus, we are working on our exhibit information!

Art: Native Americans are known for the artistry of their baskets and it is a custom that spreads throughout different tribes. We learned about how and why these baskets were made and created our own woven baskets.

Music, from Ms. King: 3rd grade was working on their Q2 project which was making a video recording of them playing and singing Jingle Bells! 


We’d like to congratulate Roxy, Mateo and Xavier who all showed great SERVICE by being of help to their classmates. Your class is very proud of you!

Adventures in Third Grade-Week 12

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving break. In only two and a half weeks we have winter break…how quickly this school year is moving by!

Important Dates and Reminders

  • December 7th: Coffee with Principal 8:15am
  • December 10th-18th: OTA’s Annual Sock Drive 
  • December 19th: Half Day, dismissal at noon
  • December 20th-January 4th: Winter Break 
  • January 7th: School resumes

Curriculum Highlights

Daily Morning Meeting: This week our mantra was “I show that I am thankful through my actions” as we continue to focus on the monthly core virtue of stewardship. We discussed what gratitude would look and sound like in our classroom. 

Reader’s Workshop: Fables, Folktales and Legends has been our focus this week as we took a look at the elements of these types of stories. We then found evidence of these elements to back up why we believe those elements were present in the books we read. Ask your student about “The Three Wishes” and how the element of magic was evident to help the woodcutter’s wife’s nose.

Word Work: The world of nouns (common, proper, irregular), prefixes and suffixes has been explored as well as the introduction of DOL (Daily Oral Language). DOL focus on the mechanics of language through sentences that are incorrect. Students are challenged to find all grammatical errors in each sentence. This has been GREAT practice for every student.

Writer’s Workshop: Topic and concluding sentences in paragraphs have been our focus as we are researching and writing about our Native American Tribes. We learned about Hamburger Paragraphs and how each part of a paragraph, just like a hamburger, have important roles in making it “taste” good:)

Math: We are continuing to move through division and its relationship to multiplication-we are now at dividing with 8 and 9. We also looked at the relationship of even and odd numbers and patterns we can find with them in multiplication and division. Students who completed 5 of the 9 items on their math IXL checklist earned time to play Prodigy today.

Read Aloud: We finished reading “Rules” and it was a wonderful book. Such great character development with Catherine (who was so worried about what her new neighbor thought of her, her autistic brother, and her friend who was non-verbal and in a wheelchair) and how she learned so much about how her worry affected the relationships that meant the most.  We have now started “There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom” with a male main character and I can guarantee this character will keep this class engaged:)

Social Studies: Every student has now chosen a tribe from either the Southwest, Southeast or Eastern Woodlands region. We are beginning our PBL project: The OTA Native American Museum. We’ve gone over what this project entails (each student will create a museum exhibit for their tribe) and we look forward to opening our museum doors to you mid-January!

Art: Native Americans have many legends and one is of the Dreamcatcher. We read two different legends about dreamcatchers while comparing and contrasting these stories. With an understanding of the importance of dreamcatchers to Native Americans, we created our own to capture our good dreams.

Music, From Ms. King: This week 3rd grade has been working on their Q2 project. Performing and singing along to a multi-part song (Jingle Bells) that uses the chords we have learned so far. Students have practiced analyzing song structure, performing, reflecting, and strategizing for improvement through rehearsing this song. 


Happy Birthday to Leonard who celebrated his birthday on Monday!

Congratulations to Peyton, Brighton, Maya and Leonard who stood out this week showing-through their actions-their gratitude for being a third grader at OTA! Your class is so proud of each of you!




Adventures in Third Grade-Week 11

It sounds like a lot of fun things are happening this next week for all of you-according to the students who shared their plans for Thanksgiving Break:) I am very grateful for this awesome group of third graders and hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Important Dates and Reminders

  • November 19-23 Thanksgiving Break
  • November 27th-Giving Tuesday
  • December 7th-Coffee with the Principal 8:15am

Curriculum Highlights

Daily Morning Meeting: Our morning meetings were cut short due to a short week, field trip and Cardiac Awareness Day so no awards were given but we’ll resume with awards after break.

Reader’s Workshop: We finished up our mini-unit on Trickster Tales and learned a lot about the elements of these tales. We continued with studying characters and their traits focusing on how a character changes from the beginning of the story to the end-and what exactly causes that change.

Writer’s Workshop: From the perspective of a turkey, letters were written to Farmer Mack Nugget pleading for him to not kill turkeys for Thanksgiving meals. Our inspiration for these letters was the book “Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving”.

Math: We started Topic 4: Division-Using Multiplication Facts to Solve Division Problems. The students did really well understanding the relationship of division and multiplication by creating fact families. Ask your student to show you what the fact family is for 3,4 and 12.

Read Aloud: “Rules” continues to give us lots to talk about and this week it was whether or not Catherine was embarrassed about Jason, her friend in a wheelchair. Lots of great character analysis!

Social Studies: We loved our class field trip learning all about the Kumeyaay! We also researched, in groups, topics about the Native Americans of the Southeast. Each group researched either food, clothing, lifestyle, location/geography or shelter of these tribes.

STEM: There were three Thanksgiving STEM challenges the students explored and I’m always impressed watching third grade minds engineering things! The challenges were: To build The Mayflower (out of foil, styrofoam and tape) and see how many pilgrims (pennies) will fit in your boat before sinking, construct a Thanksgiving dinner table (dominoes and popsicle sticks) and see how much food will fit on your table without overlapping, and design a shelter for a turkey so that it is completely covered and out of sight to avoid becoming a Thanksgiving meal.

STEM Challenge Photos

Cardiac Awareness Day Photos



Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center Field Trip

We had a great time on our field trip today! We learned SO much about the Kumeyaay Native Americans and enjoyed so many different things like…

  • My favorite part of today was when we took a hike. I learned that they made a new home (ewaa) each year. -Jane
  • My favorite pary is that I learned how to count to ten in their language. And I liked grinding acorns. You used a big rock to grind the acorns. I really liked the trip.-Leonard
  • I learned that they made tools out of trees and they ate different things than we do. I also learned that they acorns with holes the bugs went in to. I also learned how to count in Kumeyaay. And I liked that we got to see the homes they lived in. I also like how we could do the things the Kumeyaay tribe did and I thought that was really cool that we got to be like the Kumeyaay tribe. -Roxy
  • I learned that their ewaa lasts only one year, how to grind acorns, and that the rabbit stick is small. My favorite part was grinding acorns. I liked how there were actually real artifacts. -Poppy
  • I learned that they eat crushed cherries. My favorite part was when we crushed acorns! I liked the trail hike! -Peyton
  • I loved that we got to crush acorns. I also liked the hike. I enjoyed when we made the rocks and played the game. My favorite part was everything! -Selma
  • I learned that they used mostly an oak tree branch to make things. The hiking was my favorite part. I liked speaking numbers in Kumeyaay. -Aska
  • I learned that it takes a long time to make meal with acorns. -Louis
  • My favorite part of the field trip was crushing acorns. -Jacob
  • My favorite thing from the field trip was seeing bones and grinding acorns. P.S. I also had so much fun!!! -Jimmy
  • I loved to make the acorn meal. My favorite part is to get the items of the Kumeyaay. I liked to make the rock! -Betey
  • My favorite part was grinding acorns. -CJ C
  • I learned hard grinding acorns is! I learned about plants and saw real artifacts!!! Even a bow, a spear and other cool things. -Jonathan
  • I liked the Taco Tree. My favorite part was making acorn food and I liked the hike. -Ivy
  • I learned how to play a game that the tribe made and how to grind acorns. My aunt and uncle will be so happy! -Reid
  • My favorite part was grinding acorns. I learned that to make acorn meal there is a huge process. I liked taking a hike. -Chloe
  • I learned that it took a lot of work to make an acorn meal. Their main source of food was acorns. -Landon
  • My favorite part was looking at the weapons, pottery and food. -Reece
  • I learned that it was hard to make acorn meal. -Talis
  • My favorite part was we got to go to a house called an ewaa. -Brighton
  • My favorite part was that I got to grind the acorns. -Wyatt F.
  • I learned how hard it is to make meals. My favorite part was grinding acorns. I liked the stations. -Xavier
  • I learned that it took a lot of time and work to make a house. -Wyatt Mc.
  • I liked seeing their homes and grinding acorns. -Maya
  • I learned that if a jumping cactus gets you it grows a root. -CJ
  • I liked smashing the acorns.I learned it takes a long time to make acorn meal. -Mateo
  • My favorite part of the field trip is when we crushed the acorns. I liked the hike we did where we saw all the plants. -Austin

And a BIG thank you to our parent chaperones who helped make this field trip happen:)

Adventures in Third Grade-Week 10

Thank you to all who attended conferences this week. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with you about your great kids:) For those of you unable to attend conferences, your student’s report card will be mailed to you next week.

I also wanted to tell you all how very grateful I am for the Starbucks gift card and hand delivered lunches this week for conferences. Thank you all so very much! It means so much to me and your thoughtfulness is beyond appreciated. You all really made my week! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Important Dates and Reminders

  • Monday, November 12th-Veteran’s Day, no school
  • Wednesday, November 14thKumyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center Field Trip 
    • We will depart school at 8:15-please be to school on time as we’ll need to leave promptly at 8:15.
    • Students will wear their uniforms and comfortable shoes as we will be walking up some hilly terrain. The center also recommends hats.
    • Students will need to bring a water bottle and a lunch-backpacks are not needed and will not be taken on the field trip. Lunch boxes are fine as we’ll be eating lunch at a nearby park.
    • We should be returning to school by 2pm.
    • A reminder email will be sent on Tuesday.
  • November 15th-CPR Awareness Day, which is the same idea as last year, where students learn AED procedures, CPR and water safety.
  • November 19-23 Thanksgiving Break

Curriculum Highlights

Daily Morning Meeting: November’s Core Virtue is “Stewardship” and as a class we discussed how we can show stewardship in our classroom. Our mantra for the week was “I take care of myself, my work and my space” as these are all gifts we are given that we should take great care of.

Reader’s Workshop: As we begin to learn about the elements of legends and folktales, we launched this unit examining Trickster Tales. We read about Anansi the Spider, Coyote, Raven and Papagayo-all tricksters in their own way. By looking at these trickster tales we explored elements that were the same in each book and unique to Trickster Tales. 

Writer’s Workshop: We revisited writing friendly letters through reading response about Trickster Tales as well as letters to veterans to thank them for the gifts they’ve given us by serving our country.

Math: We learned about the Associative Property of Multiplication, reviewed and practiced our multiplication facts and knowledge of properties of multiplication and took our Topic 3 Assessment today.

Read Aloud: “Rules”-We continue to learn more about Catherine and her relationships-like the one she has with her Dad, the one she has with Kristi-her new neighbor-and the one she has with herself having a brother with autism.

Social Studies: We kicked off our Native American Unit with the theory of the Land Bridge-ask your student to explain this theory to you. An introduction to the local Kumeyaay tribe gave us some good insight into the people who inhabited what we now call San Diego. We also learned about Native Americans of the Southwest, how they lived in that region, their food source, their craftsmanship with building and creating, as well as the mysterious disappearance of the Ancestral Pueblo of that region.


We want to congratulate Poppy, Austin, Mia and CJ for their Stewardship! They really showed us how they take care of themselves, their work and their space by being grateful for what they have been given. Your class is so proud of you!

Today we had our ice cream party celebrating our victory with the 2nd floor Halloween door decorating contest! The vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and syrup were a big hit:)