Monday, January 20, 2020

January/February Update

Important Dates:
January 20: No School - MLK Day
January 31: Sock Hop
February 14: No School - Teacher Professional Development Day
February 17: No School - Presidents' Day
February 13-22: Wish Week

Reading:
We will wrap up our Mystery unit and embark on a new Lucy Calkins Unit of Study called Character Studies. This unit will include strategies on how to not only identify character traits, but also how to use the text to support thinking around character traits. Further, students will study how characters change throughout the book as well as what factors caused the character to change. Students will also focus on the story elements and how each part fits with the whole story. Finally, the students will look into the life lessons learned by the character and the reader and what parts of the story show this lesson.
Parent Tip: Ask students to discuss the main character’s traits in his/her book and how the traits have changed throughout the story.

Writing:
We are working our way through the Lucy Calkins Writing Opinion Unit called “Changing The World,” which focuses on persuasive speeches, petitions, and editorial writing. After identifying a topic to write about, students will generate a bold thesis and then identify reasons and evidence to support the thesis. They will organize ideas into structured paragraphs and will write details keeping their audience in mind.
Parent Tip: Ask your child what his/her topic is and ask him/her to list off the evidence he/she has to support the opinion.

Math:
Using the Envision math curriculum, we have worked hard on comparing and interpreting data using picture and bar graphs. Students gathered data, created bar and picture graphs, and have applied data from graphs to solve math problems.

We will move into our next math topic, Using Strategies and Properties to Add and Subtract. Mathematicians will investigate addition properties as well as addition patterns as they relate to algebra. Further, students will use rounding and estimating to perform mental math in both addition and subtraction. Problem solving will be an essential piece as we work our way through this unit.
Parent Tip: Help students practice rounding and estimating numbers in order to perform mental math. It would also be beneficial to continue math fact practice at home.

Science:
We will begin a new unit on Matter - this is my favorite unit in science! Scientists will learn about the states of matter, changes in matter, and the properties of matter.

Monday, December 2, 2019

December Update

Important Dates:
December 12: Class Rock Concert: 10:15-11:15
December 19: Class Winter Party (Details to come)
December 20-January 6: No School-Winter Break

Reading:
Using the guidance of Lucy Calkins curriculum, we will begin our unit called "Mystery: Foundational Skills in Disguise". This is my favorite genre of reading and the kids are very excited to start this unit as they love to solve a good mystery! Student will be working on identifying the crime solvers in the story, making predictions about suspects, motives, and opportunities, identifying patterns and common characteristics of mysteries, and even looking at red herrings and hidden clues!

Parent Tip: Ask students to verbally discuss with you the crime solver in the story and the clues he/she is gathering to help solve the mystery.

Writing:
We will continue our Informational Writing unit. Having looked at text structures through mentor texts, we will continue drafting our own nonfiction books. Students will finalize the Table of Contents and they will complete the written paragraphs. In the end, students will type their books onto Google Slides to share with their buddies, peers, and parents.

Parent Tip: Ask students to perhaps spend some time at home researching their topic; this will make their paragraphs stronger and more grounded in facts and ideas.

Math:
Using our new Envision math curriculum, we will continue to look at the relationship between multiplication and division. Students have been introduced to the Multiplication Table and have investigated the various patterns within the table. The have also started to notice how the table represents multiplication and division as inverse operations. As we continue to fluently divide and multiply within 100, we will practice writing and solving multiplication and division word problems. Using different strategies, we will identify important numbers and information in a word problem followed by visualizing the problem. Overall, we will begin to connect literacy with math.

Parent Tip: Help students recognize the patterns between multiplication and division facts in order to improve their fluency. It would be beneficial to do some math fact practice at home.

Science:
We will wrap up our rock and mineral unit during our tech rotation when the students will create slideshows to demonstrate their knowledge of the different rock types, how the different rock types are formed, and to share some interesting facts about rocks. Students will learn how to create a slideshow as well as how to use a new tech tool, “Screencastify,” to record their slideshows!

Social Studies:
We will begin our new unit in Social Studies, which will focus on regions and maps.  Students will investigate the factors that make a region unique such as cultural diversity, industry and agriculture, and landforms.  They will also look at physical, political, urban, and rural attributes to characterize regions

Sunday, November 10, 2019

November Update

Important Dates:
November 11: No School - Teacher Learning Day
November 15: Crazy Hair Day - Donations Support Kits for Kids
November 18-22: School Book Fair
November 20: Celebrations of Learning & Thanksgiving Feast (11:45-12:40)
November 21: School Accountability Meeting - 4:00-5:00 @ GRE
November 22: PJ Day - Donations Support Denver Task Force's Turkey Drive
November 25-29: No School - Thanksgiving Break

Reading:
Using the guidance of Lucy Calkins curriculum, we are continuing our unit called "Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures". We will practice synthesizing two texts. Throughout the unit, we will continue to summarize a non-fiction texts using main idea and supporting details (boxes and bullets). We will also implement new strategies to encourage conversations with our reading partners.
Parent Tip: Ask students to verbally discuss with you the main idea and supporting details of what they read. Encourage students to use words such as "how", "what", "why", "where" in order to have a strong main idea.


Writing:
We will continue our Informational Writing unit. Having looked at text structures through mentor texts, we have begun drafting our own nonfiction books. Students will create a Table of Contents, boxes and bullets for each chapter, and begin writing paragraphs. In the end, students hope to type their books onto Google Slides to share with their buddies.
Parent Tip: Ask students to perhaps spend some time at home researching their topic; this will make their paragraphs stronger and more grounded in facts and ideas.


Math:
Using our new Envision math curriculum, we will look at the relationship between multiplication and division. Some new vocabulary words will include quotient, fact family, odd number, and even number. As we begin to fluently divide and multiply within 100, we will practice word problems. Using different strategies, we will identify important numbers and information in a word problem followed by visualizing the problem. Overall, we will begin to connect literacy with math.
Parent Tip: Help students recognize the patterns between multiplication and division facts in order to improve their fluency. It would be beneficial to do some math fact practice at home.


Science:
In continuing with our unit on rocks, minerals, and soil. We will be doing several activities and experiments to investigate different types of minerals. We will brainstorm ways to identify minerals such as streak, hardness, size, color, etc. We will then transition into soil and its importance.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

October Update

Upcoming Dates:
October 14-18: Fall Break
October 31: Halloween Party/Parade

Reading:
Using the guidance of Lucy Calkins curriculum, we start out unit titled "Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures". In this unit, we will use non-fiction texts. We will discover how to determine importance, distinguish our own opinion from that of the author, tackle hard words, and teach others about what we have read in the text. We will create new reading goals and will continue to share with our reading partners. 
Parent Tip: Take your kiddo to the library to checkout non-fiction texts that "just right" for them! I encourage you to ask them what they learned after they complete their 20 minutes of reading at home.

Writing:
We will publish our personal narratives after revising/editing using a checklist. After Fall Break, we will begin our next unit called "The Art of Informational Writing". In this unit, we will discuss the importance of organizing writing, making connections, and balancing facts and ideas. Using mentor texts, we will learn a variety of strategies to aid us as informational writers. We will look at different text structures.
Parent Tip: Ask students what they are writing about and how they are organizing their ideas in a way that makes sense to readers.

Math:
Using our new Envision math curriculum, we will look at the Distributive and Associate Property of Multiplication. These properties provide different ways to solve the same problem and help us check our work. After getting comfortable with multiplication, we will use multiplication to divide. Using pictures and bar diagrams, we will represent problems in a multitude of ways.
Parent Tip: Help students recognize the patterns between multiplication facts in order to improve their fluency. It would be beneficial to do some math fact practice at home.

Social Studies:
We will continue our civics unit by looking at rights and roles of citizens in a school, community, and government. We will briefly touch on the Bill of Rights and three branches of government. Students will also exercise their rights as citizens by voting for things in the classroom. They will also identify and demonstrate how to be a good citizen in the community.
Parent Tip: Talk about how you have exercised your rights as a citizen as well as roles/rules you follow in the community.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

September Update

Important Dates:
9/20 - NO SCHOOL
9/27 - Digger Dash
10/2 & 10/10 - Parent Teacher Conferences
10/3 - Field trip to Plains Conservation Center
10/14-10/18 - Fall Break


Reading
Using the guidance of Lucy Calkins curriculum, we will continue to build a reading life. In addition, we will touch on how to retell a story, tackle complex texts, and understand the author's purpose. Thought prompts such as "this makes me wonder" or "this lets me know" will help us retell a story. Talking about having grit and using textual clues will help us take on and understand challenging texts.
Parent Tip: Encourage students to make predictions, retell, question, and envision as they are reading at home. Students should continue reading 20 minutes a night.


Writing
Using rubrics and checklists, we have been self-assessing and writing goals. Using mentor texts, we will revise our own work and work with partners to help revise theirs. Paragraphing our thoughts to support sequencing, dialogue, and details will be another key point this month. 
Parent Tip: Ask students how they are elaborating on their writing (making it interesting not "BORRRRING!").


Math
We are identifying and using patterns to practice our multiplication math facts. Key vocabulary in this topic includes factor, product, equation, multiple, expression, representation, and properties of multiplication. Students will work on how to explain their thinking using words in addition to numbers. We will break apart word problems to understand what the problem is asking, what the important numbers are, and how to solve the problem.
Parent Tip: Help students recognize the patterns in multiplication facts in order to improve their fluency.


Social Studies
We have been looking at the past and the present. We spent a fair amount of time identifying artifacts from the past and noticing how things have changed over time. More specifically, we will look at how school, transportation, clothing, and communication have changed over the years. We will move into the civics portion of social studies where we will look at rights and responsibilities as citizens.
Parent Tip: Share a story from your past and have the student's compare their current life to yours when you were their age.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

About Me

Welcome to 3rd grade! My name is Kristen Leuschner (pronounced Leshner) and I will be your child's 3rd grade teacher. I am very excited to be doing what I love at such a wonderful place. My goal this year is for each student to learn in a stimulating and responsive learning environment. In my classroom, your child will feel secure, as well as challenged. It is my hope that each child in my class will develop a joy of learning that will endure. I have discovered that the truly magical part of my job is watching my kids’ faces light up when they discover they are capable of so many wonderful things.

This will be my eleventh year of teaching. I have taught 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade and I am excited to begin a new school year! I earned my Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Regis University. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Creighton University and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

I am not a Colorado native as I grew up a Navy B.R.A.T. and we moved every two years. However, we always called Colorado home so after my dad retired we settled down in Colorado. I enjoy spending time with my husband, our 2 sons, and our black lab, Diesel. When I am not at school, I can be found spending time with my amazing family, watching my boys play sports, enjoying a Starbucks, and following my beloved Denver Broncos!!

I am thrilled to be starting this new year with your child. The best way to contact me is via email at Kristen.leuschner@dcsdk12.org.