At Challenger, we adhere to the "3Rs."

Challenger students, parents, volunteers, and staff members are expected to: 

Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Resourceful and Be Safe.

Class Update 3-27-19
What are we learning?
Math: We are condensing Module 4, in which students build a deeper understanding of area.  This module supports and extends the work on multiplication and division we have been working on all year. Module 5 is on fractions. We will start module 5 next week.
Social Studies: Our current unit in social studies is Cultures of North America. This inquiry engages third graders in expanding their understandings of diverse cultures. The compelling question “How do cultures unify and divide us?” is intellectually respectful of students who, by their nature, are interested in people and their similarities and differences. It allows for engagement with several social studies disciplines as students examine diverse cultures. 
Reading: We return to fiction for our next reading unit: Character Studies. We will be digging deep into what makes characters so important in literature. We will consider the choices characters make, lessons they are learning, and how they grow or change throughout a story.
Writing: We are working on opinion (persuasive) writing. Rather than just writing about their opinion (such as “dogs are better than cats”), students will work to develop stronger thesis statements (you should get a dog) and give reasons that are most likely to influence their audience (a dog will always greet you at the door, a dog will keep you active because they need to play outside).
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns,
Dillon Kangas
Class Update 12-7-18
It was great to connect with so many of you at conferences this week. If you have any unanswered or new questions, please email me.
What are we learning?
Reading: We are shifting our attention to reading informational texts. We will be learning and practicing skills specific to reading nonfiction texts. Reading lessons will be focusing on text structures and features using informational texts. This work will support the writing we will be doing.
Writing: During our informational writing unit, students will be writing about topics they already know a lot about. This is not a research and report unit. Students will be writing informational texts on a topic that will include facts, definitions, details, transitions, and conclusions.
Math: We will finish module 2 (addition and subtraction, place value, units of measure, and rounding) before winter break. After break, we will start module 3, in which we return to study the properties of, and relationships between, multiplication and division (with a focus on multiples of 6, 7, 8, and 9).
Social Studies: We are currently studying regions of the United States. We will be wrapping this work up before winter break, and will share our PowerPoint presentations with each other.
Science: We will begin our unit on rocks and minerals after winter break. This unit is very hands-on and one of my personal favorites.

Class Update 10-15-18

What are we learning?

Writing: Last week we learned strategies to find ideas for personal narratives, started using a storyteller’s voice and did a little work on spelling. The primary goals have been generating ideas and starting to get some words on paper.

This week (and probably part of next week), we will be taking one story idea (either one they have already started or a new one) from start to (almost) finish. We will practice telling the story orally and plan how to write it, we will write a draft, and we will spend time to revise and edit our draft. We likely will not “publish” these pieces, but they will be much more polished than the first set of entries in our journals.

Math: We continue Module 1, Properties of Multiplication and Division and Solving Problems with Units of 2–5 and 10. We have spent quite a bit of time working on a strategy for understanding and solving problems called Read, Draw, and Write (RDW). The steps are:

  1. Read the problem or scenario closely, then, restate it in your own words.
  2. Draw a picture to represent the problem.
  3. Write a number sentence and a statement.

Last week we introduced “tape diagrams” as one way to model multiplication and division. Many students used tape diagrams in 2nd grade to show addition. If you would like to learn more about tape diagrams, and how they support understanding of multiplication and division, you can find “Parent Tip Sheets” for module 1 here. Tape diagrams are explained in Topic D.

This week, we are working on Topic E, multiplication and division using units of 4. We will continue to build an understanding of multiplication, division, arrays, tape diagrams, number bonds, and problem solving using the RDW process.

Reading: This week we are working on setting reading goals and setting up systems for sharing books.  We have started to use reading logs in class to look for patterns or trends in our reading behaviors. You may see your child use the log at home. I have not “required” students bring them home, but many will. The reading log is a data collection tool. It is a tool for the reader, not for me, to learn about himself or herself as a reader.

Next week, we will get to know our first reading partner. Reading partners will meet most day to discuss what they are reading, to work together on setting goals, and keep each other accountable for growing as a reader. I will use everything I know about each reader, including interests, strengths, and areas to grow in, to pair students for their first partnership.

Science:  We had a great time at the salmon hatchery last Thursday! Thanks to everyone that made the trip a success. We have been learning about salmon to get at the bigger concept of life cycles, and today we had a wonderful guest teacher lead an exploration on how the life cycles of other animals look. We still have a lot to learn about salmon and life cycles, and we will return to the topic throughout the year.

Social Studies: As I discussed at Curriculum Night, we have a new social studies curriculum this year. The curriculum was developed by teachers across the Issaquah School District and is built on big ideas. For our first unit, our class will be focusing on the big idea of Geography of North America.

This inquiry engages students in a look of where people live and allows them to begin to wonder why.  They learn how the attributes of geography, weather and climate, cities and landmarks, resources and industry, ethnicity and cultures help define regions within the United States and make them desirable places to live. 


Please email me if you have any questions.


Dillon Kangas

Class Update 10-1-18

What are we learning?

Writing: We are starting our unit of study on personal narratives. Students will be filling their journals with true stories about their lives. As we progress through the unit, we will work on using a “story teller's voice”, and using dialogue in their stories. You can help your child by helping them think of story ideas that they can write about in class.

Math: We continue Module 1, Properties of Multiplication and Division and Solving Problems with Units of 2–5 and 10.  Last week, we were introduced to the communitive property (example: 3x5=5x3). This week we are exploring the distributive property (example: (5x2) + (2x2) = 7x2). These skills and strategies build the foundational understanding of multiplication and division. One important note: at this time, the focus is on the concept and practice, not necessarily using specific vocabulary.

Reading: Going along with our writing units of study, our first unit of study in reading also focuses on narrative. We will be working on specific comprehension skills such as: summarizing, predicting, inferring, and what to do when we find a word we’ve never read/heard before. Please support this work by giving your child an opportunity to read or be read to every night. This can be reading independently or reading aloud with a parent or sibling.

Science: We were so lucky to have a guest teacher last week from the City of Sammamish teach us about Kokanee salmon and the important ways we can help protect their environment.  We are learning about the life cycle of salmon and how humans impact that cycle. We will be going to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery next week (I will send more information later this week to volunteers).


Please email me if you have any questions.


Dillon Kangas

Class Update 9-17-18

Updated website:  I have added our weekly class schedule to our class website. This is a tentative outline of what our days will look like most days, but it will vary as needed. Also, all class emails will be added to the website. You can expect an email every other Monday.


What are we learning?

Writing: We are taking the first few weeks of the school year to preview the different types of writing we will do this year. Last week, we wrote personal narratives and informational writing. This week, we will try opinion and fairy tale adaptations. The work they do over these first few weeks will be turned in and kept in their individual portfolios.

Math: We started Module 1, Properties of Multiplication and Division and Solving Problems with Units of 2–5 and 10.  This module is a formal introduction to multiplication and division.

Reading: We are building a reading life: exploring our class library to find good fit books, building reading stamina, and sharing what we read with others. Also, I have started F&P reading assessments and will continue to work on those over the next few weeks.

Science: We started our unit on life cycles and salmon!


Please email me if you have any questions.


Dillon Kangas