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McFarland's Newsletters

March News

posted Mar 5, 2018, 12:18 PM by Diane McFarland

Dear Parents, March 5, 2018

Welcome to March! Here’s a little update of what we’re up to in third grade.

This is Dr. Seuss’s week: tomorrow we wear green, Wed is mismatched day, Thurs is hat day and Fri is dress as a job in the future.

Reading – This month we are doing a weekly reading challenge at home and at school. A note and an email letter was sent home today.  Reading has become a favorite part of the day for many of us. As a class, we will try to read 20,000 minutes by the end of the day on March 30th for an ice cream smorgasbord AND there will be no homework for a week. The kids have recording sheets for home and one that stays in school. The letter will provide more information.

We will also be doing our third and final book project this month. I have revised the directions, so they’re more easily understood and helpful,  I hope. When it comes time to write the summary, I am available to revise and edit what the kids have come up with  before the due date if they want my help.

We've been working on many skills as we discuss the stories: fact & opinion, supporting answers with details, writing main idea statements and summaries, using context clues to “read between the lines”...  The students work daily on fluency, expression, and comprehension.

Writing –  We will be doing some persuasive writing pieces where the students will write about their opinion, and support it with facts and details. We have topics like “what is the best game?”, “should kids wear uniforms to school”, “the best pet”, “should dogs be allowed in restaurants”, and others. It should be interesting. I’ve very pleased that many kids are writing in paragraphs.

Math – This past month we’ve been working with fractions, identifying them on different number lines, finding equivalencies, finding mixed numbers and counting on in different fractions.

This month we are learning how to multiply 2 and 3 digit numbers by 1 digit. We continue to work on multiplication facts. They kids really need to work on them now that they’re using them in different problems.  All facts have been introduced, they just need to memorize them now.

We will be studying geometry this month too– 2D and 3D shapes, lines, congruency, symmetry, parallel, intersecting lines… This often doesn’t feel like “math” for many, but it is!

Science – We’ll be studying Simple Machines next. Toward the end of March, we’ll study the Night Sky! There are so many things to learn. We’ll be talking and doing activities about stars, constellations, planets, the moon and their movement patterns. In April, we’ve hired a planetarium to come to our gym. The kids will get a great review and have an experience of being in a planetarium where they can see constellations and night sky fun.

Cursive – As of today, we have learned all the lower case and upper case cursive letters. We will continue to practice and improve. The kids may write in cursive at this point if they wish. : )


- Class supplies: We are almost out of cups, wipes, tissues and spoons if anyone would like to donate some.  Thanks!

-Please check with your child to see if he/she needs a new supply of pencils or another eraser.

-Report cards will be available on line Friday, the 30th.

Thanks for all you do! Thanks for reading!


Diane McFarland


posted Feb 5, 2018, 7:51 AM by Diane McFarland

Dear Parents, February 5, 2018

Social Studies & Science – We have finished our awesome immigration unit. The simulation was a huge success. The kids really seemed to “get” how the immigrants might have felt.  Thanks for your help with their outfits and conversations about the topic.  It is interesting to note that the students in this class have ancestors from 20 countries. The most represented were Great Britain, Ireland and Canada. Ths kids will be bringing home their ancestry folders this week. You might want to add to them as you find out more information. Thanks for sharing your stories.

Reading Our second book project is due this Wednesday. The kids are excited to share their projects and summaries. After reading about immigration, each reading group has started a new chapter book. We’ve added “book chat jobs” where there’s a summarizer, an illustrator, a vocabulary finder, a discussion director (asking Qs), and a main idea person. The kids like having a different job to do,

Writing/Language –In March, the students will be taking a standardized test. This year writing will be included and the students will have to type on the computers. I had the kids type a piece they had written last month and this past week, they types ideas from their graphic organizer planner about their immigration simulation. There were some misspellings but I was impressed with what they were able to do. They’ll be ready!

The students are learning to write more descriptive and interesting sentences that support their topic.  We are currently reviewing the use of adjectives and including expanders (where, when, why, how) in sentences. Including examples and reasons to support opinions is a focus right now. We’re working on combining short sentences to make a longer sentence.

Revising and editing for spelling and punctuation continue...  Capitals and periods are expected 100% at this time.

Math – At this point, all students should know their x5, x9 and square number facts (6x6,7x7.8x8…). We’re currently working on x4. Please guide your child to memorize these facts if they don’t know them. We’ve gone over several strategies in class.

We practice in school with rocket math, ladders, math keys, flashcards and card game activities. A five minute practice at home each night is needed. The kids know what they’re on both for addition/subtraction and multiplication.

Understanding fractions, their equivalencies, and word problems has been our recent focus in math. Later this month, we’ll be working with measurement – both standard and metric. We’ll also continue to work on story problems.

Spelling – Many are having a hard time on their weekly spelling tests. The words all follow a  pattern and the kids should be working on them for homework. Writing them down is best because that’s  how they are tested. Our goal is to get all but one or two right on Friday’s test. The kids really need to spend time working on their words.

Cursive – By the end of this week, we will have learned all lower case letters and upper case letters! The students may write in cursive now if they wish. Often, they’re excited to use cursive and then find it cumbersome, so they’re welcome to switch back to printing.

Other –

  • Valentine’s Day – Tuesday, Feb 14th – names & info attached

  • Please check with your child to see if he/she needs more pencils or erasers. They go through them pretty quickly.

Sincerely,   Diane McFarland



Dear Students and Parents, February 5, 2018

We will be exchanging valentines on Wednesday, February 14th.  This exchange is optional.  If your child would like to participate, he/she needs to have a valentine for each person listed below.   Thank you.


Mrs. McFarland










Lillian H.









Lillian M.

Mrs. Foltz

Mrs. McFarland

January News

posted Jan 5, 2018, 7:51 AM by Diane McFarland

Dear Parents,                     January 5, 2018

Happy New Year!  The kids seem happy to be back .  January is typically a great learning month if we can keep everyone healthy.  The children need to dress for the weather, wearing hats and mittens and zipping their coats. Boots and snowpants are required to go in the snow. Many people like to bring their snow things in a grocery shopping cloth bag. Hopefully, it will warm up so we can have fum n the snow! Here’s what’s up this month.

Social Studies/Immigration – We are having fun with this unit and learning a lot about the Ellis Island experience. Each child will represent one of six countries as an immigrant to the US during our third grade “Immigration Simulation” on Wed. January 31st. All children will experience the immigration process as they “go through” Ellis Island (school caf.) with their passports as immigrants. They will learn about the country they represent and earn money for their passage, storing it in the pouches that they sewed. Fun, fun!

Thank you for completing the family history/ancestry information.  If you haven’t gotten to it, can you?  It will make our study of immigration more personal and meaningful. Some of us have more info than others about our ancestry. Anything you know is great to share. Leave what you don’t know blank. We'll be doing an activity with the information next week.

If you would like to share something of your own ancestry, cultural experience or artifacts from your native country, let me know. It’d be a great learning experience for the kids.

We typically combine our study of immigration with a trip to Lowell Mills. Unfortunately we weren’t able to schedule a date until February, so tune in next month.

I will be assigning our second book project sometime next week. The kids will need to choose a “just right” book  to read that I will approve, write a 4-6 sentence summary for it, and choose between a diorama, a storyboard, a mobile or a game. It won’t be due until Thursday, February 7th.

Math - We’re finishing up a unit on graphing and word problems, and then we’ll begin a unit on fractions. We’re also still working on our math facts –addition and subtraction and we’ve moved on to x3 and x4 facts this month. Keep practicing!!! We’ll be getting back at the quizzing and moving forward in our facts this month, so practice at home is so important.

Writing/Language – The students' writing is really coming along. We will work on including thoughtshots (thoughts and feelings) in writing. We will be writing about a favorite item or memory which will use both snapshots (what we can see) and thoughtshots. The students are using a thesaurus to find vivid words for adjectives and expanding sentences by thinking about “where, when, why, and how”.

Rereading work to edit and revise, showing best effort is ongoing. Any possible misspellings are circled as they write to be looked up later. Writing ideas on the paper comes first. We revise our work by adding or deleting with a colored pencil.  It’s fun to see all the improvements and changes they’ve made by looking at all the color on the page. Editing or proofreading for capitals, periods, and spelling are always expected before completion.

Other language and spelling skills that we continue to review and practice include –similes, using a & an, commas, plurals, adverbs, spelling rules, dictionary skills, hyphens, syllables…  

Spelling Hint - A spelling pattern for this month is c, k, and ck words.  There is a rule that works well. Although they all make the same sound, the ck only comes after a short vowel and at the end of a word or syllable (stuck, package). The c is a “fat” letter and comes before the “fat” vowels of a, o, and u (cashew, because, cucumber). If it comes before a “skinny” vowel (i,e,y), it makes the soft c sound like an s (mice, bicycle, cinnamon). The k is “skinny” and comes before the “skinny” vowels of e, i, and y. (kind, ketchup). There are always rule breakers but this little trick is very helpful.

It also applies with the j and g letters. The g makes the hard g sound when it's followed by fat vowels a, o, u (goat, gas). The g makes the soft /j/ sound when it's followed by the skinny vowels, e, i, y (giant, judge, gym).


Diane McFarland

November Letter

posted Nov 13, 2017, 7:47 AM by Diane McFarland

Dear Parents, November 11, 2017

Conferences – Thank You! Thanks for coming to your child’s conferences and for remembering your time. It was great to connect with you and learn more about your children.

Science– WOW!  What a fabulous scavenger hunt we had a few weeks ago. The students had creative items and were very enthused to share. They learned a lot from this project ~ what a great introduction to water cycle vocabulary.

We've just finished our study of  Matter. The kids did great on their tests. We will be learning more about the water cycle now. We’ll be doing more experiments, asking questions, making a hypothesis (prediction), careful observations, and coming up with a conclusion based on the results. We will also do a bit with clouds and weather before moving on to our study of immigration in December.

Reading – The students are working on many skills in reading. One of the main focus areas is monitoring their reading and fixing it if it doesn't make sense. Several students are still making word guesses based on the first letter or syllable.  We continue to work on using reading strategies and improving fluency. Chunking longer words into parts and thinking of what makes sense is helping. The goal is for them to make their own corrections and read accurately.  It’s so tempting to give the word but by giving them “think time”, they can try their strategies and increase their reading abilities. Attending to the meaning and participating in discussions is ongoing as each group reads the anthology story of the week and works on their chapter book.

The kids have been working on a fluency program where they read the same story on five different days. They chart their progress and note the number of words read in minute. It helps them be more aware of reading the passage accurately and see how their progress improves. Their past two stories are being sent home on Friday.

Math – We’ve been working with numbers, adding and subtracting, and using clocks. We’ve done some work with measurement and area and perimeter. We’ve worked on x9, x5 facts and will do the square numbers (6x6, 8x8…) this week. This month, we’ll introduce x3 and x4 facts. The students need to work on memorizing their facts.We practice them for 5 minutes daily at school and they need to do just 5 minutes at home too.

Facts –Using a ladder, flashcards or some computer programs are helpful.

Writing / Language – We have just finished introducing all four “sentence expanders” of where, when, why, and how.  We’ve been using a picture as a basis to write sentences and now we’ll begin a short paragraph using these skills, stretching short sentences with the expanders to include more description. We're learning that a sentence can begin with one of these expanders, not just the subject or noun. (Since he was so hot, the boy swam in the salty ocean  before he stopped for lunch. This sentence starts with a “when”, has a noun, verb, a “where” expander and another “when”. )

We are also learning about/reviewing homophones, nouns, verbs, subjects & predicates and similes, and we will be writing about a raindrop that comes down to earth.

Several students aren’t using capitals and periods in their writing, which is a problem. They know where they go and they should be there.Students need to look over their work and edit when they’re finished.

Spelling – The weekly word list comes home on Mondays with vocabulary words for the week's story and the language skills we're discussing and learning about. The spelling test is on Fridays. Students correct their own with me, so they know how many they get right and can tell you how they did. They study the words at home.

Handwriting – Cursive is such fun for them.  We have learned c, a, d, g, h, t, p, e, l, as well as their names. They can write their names in cursive and practice but not write anything else in cursive until we have covered all of the letters.

Cooking - We had our first cooking experience this week ~ Dirt pudding. It was delicious and the kids really enjoyed sharing a treat that they made themselves. Thanks for sending in money to help buy the supplies!

Other Tidbits –  

Pencils The class needs pencil! The students need to bring in some sharp pencils every month. We use them for everything and it’s amazing how easily they are lost or used up by the pencil sharpeners!!!  Several sharp pencils are needed to start each day.

We can always use wipes and cups too.  : )

As you can see, we are very busy!  Thank you for your support at reinforcing the skills your child is learning.


Diane McFarland


Welcome to Third Grade!

posted Jun 22, 2016, 5:45 AM by Diane McFarland   [ updated Jun 26, 2017, 12:54 PM ]

Dear Third Grade Students and Parents,                June 23, 2017


I will be your third grade teacher and I welcome you to your new class! I’m excited to teach you so many new things!  We will do many fun activities and I think you’ll enjoy a lot of the topics that we’ll study. I’m excited for you to meet new friends. Feel free to check out my website for more third grade information.


I hope you have a nice summer and enjoy some different experiences. I plan to spend some time with family in Bar Harbor and in Exeter. I’m looking forward to having more time to read, visit with friends, and enjoy some nice hikes and bike rides. I’m going to try tennis and some golfing too!  I’ll look forward to hearing what you’ve been up to when I see you in August.


Some regression tends to happen over the summer so enjoy reading many books. If you don’t know all your addition and subtraction facts yet, you need to study them. Flashcards are still a great tool. Work on them bit by bit and you’ll find third grade math so much easier.


On the first day of school, please bring:

l  an item to share that tells something about you  ~ 

a favorite  book, picture, souvenir or special item… 

l  lunch or lunch money for the week

l  healthy snack                                                

l  water bottle with your name on it

·       several sharp pencils

·       a small set of colored pencils

·       small pencil box with your name on it– A (5½x8½) works great for desks.

·       personal headphone in a labeled ziplock bag to use in computer lab. It will be returned at the end of the year.

Many students also like to have their own scissors, small quiet pencil sharpener, eraser, and glue stick, all labeled with your name, but I will have some available for you if you don't have them.                     

I look forward to seeing you Monday, August 28th.  I'll meet you in the cafeteria for the start of a great year! Enjoy your summer vacation.                                                                                                                                                                                     Sincerely, Mrs. McFarland

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