When spring break started on March 5, I never would have imagined that I’d be sitting in my house right now. On Wednesday I was getting ready to watch the Utah Jazz play the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Everything seemed normal and the players were ready to tip-off. Then a man in s suit ran out to talk to the referees. Then there was a delay and the game didn’t start. Then it was announced to the crowd that the game was postponed and to travel home safely. Then on the stream I was listening to they announced that Rudy Gobert, the Jazz’s star player, had tested positive for the coronavirus. Then the NBA suspended the rest of the entire season. All of that happened within 80 minutes. In my mind, that is the 80 minutes that changed the world. The next day the NCAA basketball tournament was canceled and sports around the world came to a screeching halt. Now it seems that everything else is following suit.

They kept saying schools are going to stay open. But news was changing by the minute. First came the news on Friday that ALA was extending spring break for another week, then the news last night from the governor that all Arizona schools are to close until March 27.

I am so sad. I already missed my class and teaching them so much, and now as things stand it will be 25 days from the time we left for spring break to the time we can convene. This class and this school year have been so amazing, and I feel like this virus is a thief taking time away from our 180 days together. Our classroom walls are covered with amazing astronomy posters ready to be presented…I can’t wait for their presentations! I have so much left to teach these kids!

I am so sad for those who this virus is affecting directly and those who have lost their lives. I hope that all the measures that are being taken do “flatten the curve” and that this will soon all be a memory. It’s hard to find any silver linings about the whole situation, but there is something to be said about hitting the pause button on life, which is what this has forced us all to do. Having a clear calendar for a couple of weeks will give us time for introspection and to be with those we love most. I hope you are all doing well and have enough toilet paper, haha.

Nothing can really take the place of the learning that takes place in the classroom, but I want to help in any way I can to help my students continue learning and not fall behind. I hope they continue to read every day. Since they don’t have their books and materials from school, I have gathered some resources and prepared some things that they can work on from home.

I emailed you a username and password sheet for your child that will give them access to several great online resources listed below that we use in the classroom that they can use at home.

None of these are required, but they can be very helpful to keep them somewhat up to speed so that when to do reconvene, we can continue at a higher level than we could otherwise.

Math

Khan academy is a great resource. The lessons have videos that kids can play, pause, and re-watch as they are building on concepts and learning new concepts. I have assigned several lessons that your child will see when they log in (they can click on assignments at the top of the left panel if it doesn’t show up). They should do these in order, starting with “Division as equal groups” and move down the list as they complete each one. Some are videos, some are questions, and some are quizzes. I think they will enjoy doing this! The due date that they all show is March 27, but this is just the end of the school closure date. They probably won’t get through all of them.

Reading

Achieve 3000 is something they are very familiar with. It is a literacy program that gives them interesting, current articles to read and then asks them questions about the article. They know to go to the most current articles (the ones that have a gray background) and choose one of them to work on. They can also go to older articles that they have not read that they are interested in. It is important that they try their best on every question and can always refer back to the article if they don’t know the answer right away. It will give them a second try if they miss a question, but only the first responses count. Only article activities that they score 75% or higher on (on their first try) count toward increasing their reading level. Getting 75% or higher is much more important than racking up points.

Writing

I have prepared a couple of writing prompts in Galileo. When they log in they will click on “Take Test” (even though it’s not a test) and choose Narrative Writing or Opinion Writing. The passages are on the left and the prompt and the writing box are on the right. They can write a rough draft on another piece of paper and then type the final draft in the writing box. The things they should focus on are an introductory paragraph, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. I can see their responses and can add more if they finish both of them.

Science

They will love this. We watch Mystery Doug videos in class, where students all over the United States send in science questions, and Doug answers them. They are all so interesting and the kids just love them and can’t wait for the new ones. They have pulled their most popular science lessons and are offering them for anyone to use for free, with no login required. Just head to mysteryscience.com/school-closure-planning and click on the 3rd grade link or scroll down to the 3rd grade lessons. They have already seen some of the mini-lesson videos (but may want to watch them again), but the full lessons will be new to them. Each full lesson has exploration videos and a hands-on activity that is designed to use simple supplies you likely already have at home. They can even do lessons from other grade levels that interest them.

Tinkercad

When students have extra time in class after finishing assignments, etc, they have been designing 3D objects on Tinkercad to print on our 3D printer. They are welcome to work on these at home. If they haven’t started, they can click on Learn in the top right, then Starters and Lessons to do the tutorials.

If I find other resources that may be helpful throughout the next 2 weeks, I will pass them along, but this should be plenty to keep them busy.

Please tell your third graders that I miss them so much, give them a hug from me, and tell them I can’t wait to be with them again.

If you have any questions about anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Take care of yourselves, and enjoy this time with your amazing kids!