Reflecting on the First Semester and Looking Ahead

It has been a very long time since I have written, and I apologize for that. I’m sure you can understand; the semester was a bit crazy. I have a little bit of time to write, so I thought I’d share some things that we have been doing in the classroom.

I adore my students, and I’m so grateful that I get to teach them. It hasn’t always been easy between the up and down with virtual and just managing COVID in general. But we made it through the first semester, and despite all of the challenges, I saw amazing improvements in my students. They have grown so much with-in our classroom community. They are working on kindness (they do fight like brothers and sisters since they have been together since pre-k), patience, self-control, service, and many other important social/emotional skills. We still have a ways to go in this area, but I will never stop working on it! It is always so amazing to see the moments when they show extra kindness to each other. On the day of our Christmas party, they decided together to pray before we ate. It made my heart so happy.

They have also grown in their reading and writing skills as well as their math skills.

Third grade math is a HUGE jump from second grade and they missed so much last year that it took a while to just work on the gaps and get them up to where they needed to be at the beginning of the year. But now we are working on the “harder” concepts and they are doing well. We will be focusing on multiplication and division for the first six weeks of the next semester. We will push through it to be able to get to the next concepts that are super important as well. These include a deeper understanding of fractions, measurement, two-three dimensional figures, algebraic reasoning, and more!

We began multiplication with some Santa arrays with marshmallows. They had so much fun. It has taken us a little longer than expected to get to this because we have been working on deepening our understanding of the hard concepts of 3-digit addition, comparing numbers up to the 100,000s, rounding to the nearest ten and hundred, and more. I didn’t want to move on until we had these concepts down.

They have also all improved in their reading skills and comprehension. The need for them to be able to dig deep has grown and they are up for the challenge. They are learning how to determine the meaning of a word through context clues, affixes (prefixes and suffixes), and more. They are gaining the ability to decode words through phonics instruction. They are learning about characters, setting, problem and solution, sequence of events, making inferences, theme, making connections to personal experiences, writing a response to a text, retelling, notetaking, and SO much more. It’s going to be a busy semester!

They will be working on writing personal narratives, informational pieces, a poem, and an opinion essay. They are also learning conventions (grammar) to help them create more meaningful writing.

Science is going to be super fun! We will be studying the solar system, weather, ecosystems, structures and functions of organisms, and life cycles. I’m so excited about these units! Last semester we studied matter, energy, force and motion, weathering and erosion, volcanoes, earthquakes, and natural resources (renewable and nonrenewable and taking care of the environment).

Social studies will include units about governing communities, running a business in a community, and making a difference in a community. They have studied communities (the foundation), culture, history of the US, and physical geography and environment.

I will be starting something called Guided Reading and Guided Math. These are ways to teach the kiddos on their levels and doing things in a fun way. This will be done in small groups so that they get more individualized attention.

I am determined to have them prepared for 4th grade!

ALSO! The kids absolutely love doing “Brain Breaks.” They have a certain channel that they adore and we try to do these when the kids obviously need some movement. It definitely improves their ability to focus!

Let’s hope and pray that we don’t go virtual again, but if that happens, we will make it work. I know that the school is just doing the best that they can, and we will push through it.

I truly want what’s best for these kiddos and will continue fighting for that.

Published by Courtney

I am the wife to Robert, mama to 3, and educator. I am a lover of nature and hiking, books, coffee, food, games, candles, blogging, journaling, holidays and changing seasons, and being with my family! We live on site at a Christian camp where my husband works. I teach 3rd grade at our local school!

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