Week Ahead in Third Grade

March 9th, 2020


Dear Fabulous Families,

Our next C4 Day is this Friday, March 13 and we will have an early release at 1:30 pm. We are looking forward to connecting with our Jet families from across the different grades and campuses as we continually strengthen our AVS community. We are also looking forward to celebrating Pi Day on Thursday, but since Pi Day is actually on Saturday, we encourage you to celebrate at home as well! The Exploratorium (among other places) will be offering special Pi Day activities.



How can we use the Law of Reflection to extend what we can see? Does light always travel in a straight line? How do lenses work? And what is light, exactly? We will begin by making periscopes and learning the key angle that will allow us to see without being seen. We will then participate in refraction stations where we will see examples of light not traveling in a straight line and learn why and how this happens. Next, we will make our own camera obscuras and reveal tiny details on a penny using drops of water to see how lenses use refraction to magnify images, and sometimes turn them upside down. Finally, we will do four different hands-on activities that will show us what photons are made of.


What numbers lie between whole numbers? This week we launch into the exciting world of fractions.  We will be constructing a giant-sized number line, with fractions between 0 and 1. We will be looking at the relative values of different fractions including equivalent fractions as we place fractions on our giant number line.  Thursday we will have a special Pi day activity.

Literacy and Social Studies

Why do poets write poems? What are literary devices and how do poets use them in poetry? Last week we started our poetry unit, where students had an opportunity to read and learn about the elements of poems. We read and analyzed poems such as April Rain Song by Langston Hughes, Autumn by Emily Dickinson, and even the well-known nursery song Humpty Dumpty. We discussed the rhyming pattern in Humpty Dumpty and identified the use of personification in the poems April Rain Song and Autumn. This week, we will continue to explore the author’s purpose in poems, define the figurative language, and learn more about the different types of literary devices. Students will be exposed to similes, metaphors, onomatopoeias, alliterations, and more. This week we will also start another round of book clubs. 

What led to the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance? We will further explore the key events that contributed to the decline of Feudalism. In class this week we will focus on three causes of the breakdown of the feudal system: political changes in England, the bubonic plague and the Hundred Year Wars. As a class, we will explore the “rebirth” or the emergence of the Renaissance including the people and ideas who changed the world. 


In conjunction with their classroom studies of the Middle Ages, students are examining medieval architecture and art.  We discussed the popular format of the triptychs, three paneled art works, and are creating our own using a special tissue paper transfer technique and silhouettes.  



Next week, third grade will keep listening to more music from The Renaissance. They had much fun listening to composer William Byrd's "Sing Joyfully." We also practiced singing the melody of this song, and adding our own original harmony to it.  Students will be challenged next week to transcribe "Old Aunt Dinah" into the key of G.  



This past week in drama, third graders held a mock election where they created campaigns for 6 of the characters from As You Like It and Commedia dell’arte.  I am proud to say we had 100% voter participation, and one of our elected officials was Colombina, a smart sassy woman who offered equal rights. This week we will begin  to create an original play for The Spring Drama Performance.  


Last week, we planted seeds and we will wait patiently for them to germinate.  This week, we will move into our unit on Ecosystems. In this unit, students will learn about the web of life and relationships in the garden.  We will build our own ecosystem web by having each student be a role, such as fungus, blue jay, ladybug, or worm, in the garden ecosystem. Students will toss a ball of yarn to each other explaining the direct or indirect relationship between the roles.  Once the web is created, we will take away roles and see what happens to the web. Students will explore the question: What role do humans have in the web? How can we help fix the broken web?


Third grade will be learning about the weather. They will be writing full sentences describing the weather in each month/season with the aid of the vocabulary previously learned. Repetition is key so feel free to practice with your child at home!


This unit  in P.E. we will be playing more unconventional sports like ultimate frisbee, wall-ball, and a mixture of the two. There will be an opportunity for the students to create rules and regulations for the games to help better the experience. 


Erika Noel, Science
Brigette Olson, Math
LiJin Yan,
Language Arts 
Claire Graves,
Social Studies

Please make sure any AVS Library books and homework folders you have at home come back to school!


Monday- Thursday
  • 20 minutes per night of reading self-selected material

  • 10 minutes per night of math practice. This can consist of one of the following (families are encouraged to find the routine that fits best for them):

  1. Matific - online platform for individualized math skills practice

  2. Problem of the Month - problem solving packet (to be sent home at the beginning of each month)

  3. Family Math Games  - new games will be sent home on a bi-weekly basis

©2020 Alta Vista School
for curious young minds

Lower School Campus:

450 Somerset Street | San Francisco, CA 94134 | ​Tel: 415-467-3700 

Middle School Campus:

2558 Mission Street | San Francisco, CA 94110 | Tel: 415-510-8492