1. Paperwork Arriving Home tonight:
a. Curriculum Night Announcement- A lavender-colored paper should be arriving in Orange Folders with information about Curriculum Night this Thursday. I look forward to seeing you all there! Plan to learn more in-depth about our third grade year and be ready to indicate potential volunteer times and select a Fall Conference time!
b. Online Math and Reading Programs: A double-sided sheet is waiting in Orange Folders with information about Dreambox (math) and Raz-Kids (reading); two great online academic programs we will be using avidly this year! Most of you are familiar with these programs, but I encourage you to check them out with your child as there are usually some cool updates made yearly! We will be using these to programs during stations in school and I encourage you to use them at home, as well! I encourage you to use these two programs as a homework supplement and will go over suggestions at Curriculum Night.
2. PBL Update: Our PBL Community Teams have been working on creating Storyboards to plan their projects. We will start our photography and voice-overs this week! We look forward to sharing these completed projects with you!
3. Event Reminders:
a. Volunteer Training : Tuesday, September 25th at 3:45 PM.
Remember this training is mandatory before you begin volunteering at school this year!
b. Early Release : Wednesday, September 26th at 1:35 PM
c. Curriculum Night: Thursday, September 27th
4. Check our Wesite
Our staff had the opportunity to train in Positive Discipline last year and take a refresher course before school started this fall. Here is a great chart that talks about behaviors, walks you through the psychology behind the behavior, our beliefs, and effective responses. Although it refers to "student" behavior, I have a feeling you could apply "my kid" and find the chart just as useful :)
1. QAE News: There is a lot of important new information posted on the QAE homepage! Please check it out to learn about our upcoming Curriculum Night, PTSA meetings, before/after school activity registration and more! Also, a big thank you to Kristin Teske for keeping our class updated with important information! Please sign up right away for the Volunteer Training explained in her last email-we are looking forward to welcoming you in class!
2. Reading Logs: We had almost a 100% turn in for our first reading log due date! Thank you for your support in developing this habit at home. This week, I encourage you to focus on filling in the form completely and the quality of kids' reading responses. A great way to get started is to have kids use a different sentence starter each night. If they are feeling stuck, try having them talk out their response orally first!
3. Curriculum Focus: I'm looking forward to a deeper conversation about our curriculum at Curriculum Night on the 27th, but for now, here is a snapshot of our studies!
Social/Emotional Learning: We are building community through a classroom meeting format. We have worked on forming our classroom meeting circle, establishing classroom expectations and giving compliments to eachother.
Reading: We are in the midst of a unit called "Building a Reading Live." We have set goals, are developing a reading routine, and talking about core reading strategies. I am about halfway done with reading assessments to assign kids a general reading level to help them find "Just Right Books."
Writing: We have been working on our Writer's Notebook routine and using a variety of prompt formats to encourage writing stamina. Today, we started talking about our first writing project-writing a personal narrative! These stories will be published at the end of the unit.
Math: Washington is moving towards a full adoption of the Common Core Standards in 2014! I will talk much more about this at Curriculum Night, but it is an exciting adoption as the Common Core Standards encourage a deeper and more focus study of math at the third grade level. We have started a math program that uses our current math curriculum to teach Common Core Standards. It re-orders units in a very sequential format and allows for kids to be assessed frequently for understanding of each standard! We are currently studying rounding to the nearest ten and hundred. Ask kids about our "Rodeo!"
Social Studies and Project Based Learning: We have begun our first project! Our theme is community and our essential question is "How can a third grader contribute to their community?" Mr. Elliott as asked our kids to develop videos teaching the rules to different areas of our school. Kids are working in teams to develop rules and plan to write, shoot, and edit their films! We look forward to inviting you all to view our finished products later on :)
Happy first Monday of our school year! I hope your student is enjoying the start of the school as much as I am. We are continuing to work on our classroom management routines and systems, completing assessments to get a snapshot of students' current knowledge at the start of the year, and beginning to dive into our content!
Try this out: Ask your child about our "Attention Getters" and what we do after we hear them!
Paperwork and Supply Money: Thank you for returning the First Day packet and $50 supply money to our classroom promptly! I'll be collecting these documents all week and sending out a reminder to you before next week if anything is missing. If the supply fee is not feasible for your family at the moment-no worries! Send me a quick email and and I'll not bug you with reminder emails about a fee at this time.
Homework: As mentioned in my first day Welcome Letter, there was no homework the first three days of school! However, there are now two items on the agenda.
- Writer's Notebook Decorating Assignment: This is a one time special project assigned Friday. Students are to decorate their Writer's Notebook covers to develop a sense of ownership and pride. I saw many great covers coming in today! Students may continue to decorate tonight and we will wrap the covers with contact paper to seal their designs for the year. Some ideas for decorating can include hand drawings, magazine/newspaper clippings, internet images, stickers, etc.!
-Reading Logs: This will be a permanent and year-long assignment! I encourage you to start immediately and create a sense of urgency and importance at home around this assignment. Begin the routine with heavy guidance, and gradually release responsibility (according to your child's needs and independence level) as the year goes on. Each night students are expected to read for a minimum of 20 minutes, and to fill in that day's log box. Reading Logs are due on Friday, filled out, and signed by both student and parent. I will give them a fresh log each Friday! The first box on the form is titled "Weekend Choice." As fresh logs will be given Friday, I ask that kids choose one day to read and record; either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. There are then boxes to fill in for the rest of the school week! The first part of the box asks for basic information about the book and time spent reading. The bottom portion has 5 lines which ask for a reading response. To get started today, we all wrote the sentence starter "The most interesting part was...." Students are asked to give a brief response to answer the prompting question. Tomorrow, I will send home a form called "Reading Response Prompts." This form will give ideas and sentence starters for kids to begin writing their responses. It also helps to avoid boredom by giving them a variety of response types to write each day. Asking students to write briefly about their reading and to use a variety of prompts is very beneficial in building their literacy skills! Please work with your student to monitor their reading and recording in their log. This routine is very important to nail down at the beginning of the year and with proper guidance, will help to promote strong literacy skills from home! To avoid losing logs and the frustration that ensues, keep that reading log permanently at home in the Orange Folder!! Thank you for your work from home to support students with their reading life this year. Our current reading unit is called "Building a Reading Life," and a positive and supportive reading-at-home experience is critical to successful year. Don't worry if your child seems to be reading a book that may not be "just right." We are still assessing and teaching kids about how to find that "just right" book!
Communication: I will be emailing you all to remind you to check our Monday Blog today! I will also blog throughout the week on a need-to-know basis. I hope to have the RSS Feed up soon so that you will have any blogs sent directly into your email account. In the meantime, please bookmark our website as one of your favorites and check it DAILY!
*I really encourage you to respond to blogs with comments or questions that may pertain to the whole class. This is a great way for us to build community and makes our communication very efficient. Remember, however, to email me privately with any questions or comments that involve student privacy-Blog comments are posted for ALL TO SEE!