Friday, November 13, 2015

Spirit Week Next Week

How to Help your Child Master Basic Math Facts

To Master Basic Math Facts: Strategize, Then Memorize

February 18, 2014 
Carol R. Rinke and John F. McAdam, Marist College

Nothing may be more feared in the minds of young children and their parents than learning the basic math facts. Just hearing the times tables takes many of us back to our own childhoods, staring at a blank page and trying to remember the dreaded 9 x 8 = 72. The good news is that our own children should not have to suffer the same fear. A substantial amount of mathematics education research shows that children do not master their math facts through memorization alone. Instead, true mastery comes from being equipped with quick and effective strategies for finding the solution. By using these strategies, children will always have the mental tools needed to find the correct answer and the confidence to use them.
With a strategy-based approach to the basic math facts, children use what they already know to figure out what they don’t know. Rather than racking their brains to remember the answer to a basic math fact, they can simply find a “helping” fact and use it as a jumping- off point. For example, let’s say that your child knows the common fact 5 x 5 = 25. She can then add one more 5 to figure out that 6 x 5 = 30. Think of this as the “one more than” strategy. There are many such strategies that parents can teach their children in order to equip them with the tools they need to master all of their math facts. As a parent, remember that as long as your child can figure out an answer quickly in her head (in about 3 seconds or less), she has mastered the fact and can use it in meaningful ways as part of her daily life.
Some of the most common strategies for basic fact mastery include:
1. Skip Counting – Perhaps the simplest strategy that children can begin learning at an early age is skip counting, that is, counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, etc. Skip counting is fun to do and children begin to hear patterns in numbers. When paired with a chart (such as Figure 1), they can even begin to see those patterns. For instance, when skip counting by 10s, see if your child notices the pattern that all the numbers end in zero!
2. Make 10 – A useful way for children to think about numbers is in relationship to 10, which can serve as a mental anchor for them. For instance, when children are learning the math fact 14 – 6 = 8, they don’t need to subtract 6 all at once. Instead, they can first take away 4 from 14 to make 10 and then take away 2 more from 10 to equal 8.
3. Doubles and Near Doubles – Many children are already familiar with doubles facts. They know that 3 + 3 = 6, for instance. They can draw upon their knowledge of doubles and simply count one more to figure out near doubles such as 3 + 4 = 7 (illustrated in Figure 2).
4. Nines – Multiplying by 10 is often clear even for young children. Because nine is so close to 10, 9 facts are fairly straightforward to work out mentally. For instance, if a child knows that 10 x 7 = 70, they can take away one 7 to figure out that 9 x 7 = 63. Nines also have lots of patterns to explore together.
5. Commutative Property – This is the mathematical way to say, “you can add or multiply numbers in any order and you get the same answer.” Based on this property, if your child knows 3 + 2 = 5, then he can solve 2 + 3 = 5 (illustrated in Figure 3). Taking this approach cuts the number of addition and multiplication facts in half!
6. Use Fact Families – Children know that addition facts are connected to subtraction facts, and multiplication facts are to division facts. Therefore, it is helpful if they learn their basic facts as part of “fact families.” For instance, an addition and subtraction fact family might include 7 + 8 = 15 as well as 15 – 8 = 7. Using this approach, again, cuts the number of math facts in half.
7. Make it Real – Finally, don’t limit your practice of basic math facts to traditional flashcards. Instead, play math games and point out math relationships in real life. For instance, while your child is racing toy cars, you might show him that each car has 4 tires and ask how he could quickly figure out how many tires are on all 6 cars without counting each one. Then, ask him how he came to his solution and make math something that you talk about together every day.

Friday, November 6, 2015


We are collecting CAPS FOR CANCER. One boy in the third grade knows someone who is battling cancer and does not have enough money for the treatments. Please consider collecting these caps and donating them to this man, so that he can get his treatment costs lowered!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What is happening in November?

We have a very busy November ahead of us! Parent conferences are coming up and we have quite a few days off from school! Check with your child's teacher about your conference time and location.

Here are some dates to remember this month:

Nov 2- No School
Nov 11- 1/2 day for PARENT CONFERENCES!
Nov 12- 1/2 day for PARENT CONFERENCES!
Nov 25- 1/2 day for THANKSGIVING BREAK
Nov 26- No School for THANKSGIVING BREAK
Nov 27- No School for THANKSGIVING BREAK

What are we learning this month?

In READING we will be exploring poems. The students will be looking at different literal and non-literal language that is used in poetry. They will also be comparing the theme of two poems that were written by the same author.

In MATH we will continue to focus on multiplication and division. The students will continue to learn the different strategies to use when multiplying and then relate those to division. The students will also use the different strategies solve different multiplication and division word problems.
In WRITING we will compose our own narrative poem. The students will create their own story poems using the characteristics that they learn about in reading and that they learned about in the first quarter when writing a story. 
In SCIENCE we will investigate the process of heating and cooling. The students will ask and answer questions regarding how heating or cooling affects the properties of materials. 
In SOCIAL STUDIES we will describe and demonstrate the differences between telling and tattling. The students will learn what the difference is and when it is appropriate to tell on someone. We will also begin looking at natural/physical and human made features in our communities. The students will identify these features in Montgomery County, Maryland, the United States, and North America. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015


School will be closed tomorrow, October 15, 2015! Have a fantastic long weekend and see you on Monday!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Open House Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday, October 12 is the first Open House of the year! Come and see what your child is working on in third grade.

At 9:00 there will be a presentation about STEM and what it is, and how you can incorporate it at home.

At 11:00 the third grade will be working on a STEM project in their classrooms, making a mouse trap, like the old board game. Come and see your child build, test, and evaluate their mouse trap!

Scholastic Book Fair!

The Scholastic Book Fair begins tomorrow, October 9 and is open until Thursday, October 15! Make sure you come and support GES and get some new books for your home libraries!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What are we learning in October?

During the month of October, the third grade will continue to work hard and be kind while they are learning many new things in the classroom!

In READING we will be looking at non-fiction books to locate different text features. The students will use these features to help determine importance and the main idea of the text. 


In MATH we will begin learning different strategies to multiply and divide numbers. The students will use arrays, equal groups, repeated addition and subtraction, and other strategies to help them solve the problems. 


In WRITING we will be focusing on opinion writing. The students will develop an opinion on a topic and use the template above to support their opinions with facts and examples. 


In SCIENCE we will be creating a real-life version of the game "Mouse-Trap." The students will work together to design their own Mouse-Trap and then use different materials to build and test it. 


In Social Studies we will be discussing goods and services. The students will identify what goods and services are, as well as identify some goods and services provided by individuals, businesses, and the government.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What are we learning in September?

During the month of September, the 3rd graders will be reviewing a lot and learning many new things!

In READING we will be focusing on realistic fiction books. The students will practice asking and answering questions before, during, and after reading.

In MATH we will be focusing on rounding to the nearest 10 and 100. The students will also be practicing their addition and subtraction fluency within 1000 with and without composing and decomposing.

In WRITING we will be working hard to create our own personal narratives. The students will be writing about a true story from their own life and using the writing process to publish their work.

In SCIENCE we will explore the differences between position and motion. The students will participate in different experiments to test their hypotheses.

In SOCIAL STUDIES we will be discussing our roles and responsibilities as citizens of the United States. The students will also participate in discussions about the good deeds that they have done and what they can do to support the common good.

Tips for Becoming a Better Reader at Home

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


We will have our first spirit night of the year next Tuesday. Please plan to come to Chipotle for dinner from 5-9 to support our school. Tell the cashier you are there for GES spirit night, and a portion of your meal cost will be donated to the school. Thanks for supporting GES and the GES PTA!

Friday, September 4, 2015


  • Please do not forget to send headphones with your child. They are needed for the chromebooks.
  • Also, do not forget to send a snack with your child. We have a late lunch. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Welcome to the blog for the 3rd Grade at Gaithersburg Elementary School.