Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30, 2016 News

Conferences are next week.  If you are able, please bring your child to your scheduled conference.  Together, the students and I will discuss our “stars,” or strengths, as well as some “wishes,” or things we would like to work on for the next few weeks.  At our conference, we will discuss our goals and the action plan for achieving our goals.  If you want to be prepared, come ready to give your child two “stars” and two “wishes.” 

Swimming will begin on Monday!  Students should bring in a swimsuit, towel, and goggles (optional, but recommended) in a bag.  Your children can either bring it home daily or hang it over their locker to dry.  Talk with your child about which option is best for him/her and your family. 

This year, all Lower School students will receive a C.A.R.E. shirt to wear on Community Meeting days.  On these days, students may wear their shirts with jeans or other pants.  Our next Community Meeting will be on Tuesday, October 11 and our C.A.R.E. theme for October is Participation.  For future reference, the other dates are: November 10, January 4, February 1, April 6, and May 3. 

Curriculum highlights:
This week we spent lots of time debriefing from our River Rendezvous field trip.  We made mind maps of each station we visited and talked about our new knowledge.  The children continue to learn different personal narrative writing strategies.  They took their first chapter test in math and next week we will begin our next unit of mental math and estimation strategies.  We spent lots of time talking about growth mindset.  We were able to watch five short video clips, take notes, and we had wonderful conversations after each video.  Finally, your children were excited to use our classroom laptops.  We learned how to make bookmarks and had a chance to explore around our class blog.  
Friday, September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016 News

Thank you to Karen McKay and Kim Stiele for accompanying us on our River Rendezvous field trip today.  The forecast looks great (wahoo!) and the children will learn a lot of new information.  Perhaps your child will share a few tidbits with you this weekend? 

Curriculum highlights:
In social studies and science, we talked about glaciers across Minnesota thousands of years ago.  Ask your child what they remember about these glaciers (hint: they caused the lakes!).  Your children have been busy writing personal narrative small moment stories.  They have met with their writing partners and have received support in an encouraging way.  One student asked if he could have the same writing partner all year long because she was so helpful to him and he really liked working with her.  In math, we have been building larger numbers into the thousands and your children have been honing in on their place value skills.  We began to organize our math spirals (where we keep notes and practice problems) and your children are learning how to take notes.  The children had their first word study test on Thursday and did quite well!  The new word sort was already introduced and three choices are due next Friday, September 30th.

Book orders finally came home (your children were very excited to get them in their hands!) on Thursday.  Ordering is voluntary and can be done either online or via sending in a check with the paper order form.  Directions for ordering online can be found on the blog in the “Helpful Info” section under the link “Scholastic Note.”  
Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 16, 2016 News

Tomorrow is a Blue and Gold non-uniform day!  In the afternoon, we will attend the annual Homecoming Coronation in the Anderson Gym.  This community-building activity brings the whole school together to show Breck spirit!  Saturday morning at 11:00am is the Blessing of the Animals and 12:00pm is the Homecoming BBQ, if you and your family are interested.  Hopefully you are able to attend some of the festivities!

Another highlight of our week is we got to meet our Preschool Buddies!  Each child has a new friend with a preschooler from Mrs. McCool and Mr. Ginsburg’s preschool class.  We did a Venn Diagram where the buddies were able to discover similarities and differences with each other.  Be sure to ask your child about his or her buddy.  Check out the pictures in the Photos section!

Saturday (September 17th) is Constitution Day.  We will celebrate by watching a Charlie Brown video about what happened back in 1787.  It will lead to a conversation about our three branches of government and how we have a government “for the people,” with one chief executive officer.  Next week, we will begin talking about “long ago” in what we now know as Minnesota.  We will begin to answer our big question, “What was here?”  In science, we will discuss different aspects of phenology.  We will learn different Minnesota birds in preparation for our FeederWatch program (it begins in November).    

Don’t forget -- Picture Day is Monday, September 19th.  You can fill out the paper form or online.  We will have our pictures taken at 10:15am.

Your children have been engaged in Writer’s Workshop, where they are learning about writing small moments for personal narratives. We are learning different strategies, such as writing about a special person or place.  Next week, we will continue the conversation with other strategies: how you felt during a moment and writing with a storytelling voice and not a reporter voice.  Your children will have a chance next week to meet and actively engage with their writing partner as they share work with each other and gain constructive feedback.  We will talk about “encouragement, not discouragement.”

In math, we have been busy reviewing place value to 10,000.  This week, we made large numbers and worked closely with each place value.  Your children seem to have a good grasp of these skills so far!    

We learned another component of our Daily 5 this week: Work on Writing.  This is where the children have a choice in what they write.  Some students may write poems and songs, where others may write stories and letters to relatives. 

Has your child chosen his/her Minnesota destination yet?  Once your child has chosen his/her destination, let me know (a couple of you have already let me know).  I will compile a list so we can attempt to not have any repeats.  Remember to include information about why this place is an important Minnesota place, and what we can learn about Minnesota’s past, present, and/or future from visiting it.  Take a 3-minute (or less) video of your visit, and then bring it on a flash drive for me.  These videos are due Monday, April 24th.  My plan is to collect all the videos and create a class movie of Minnesota destinations to share with students and families at the end of the year (TBA in May 2017).  What a great way to discover all that Minnesota has to offer!

Halloween is on the horizon…we will celebrate on Monday, October 31st.  As a reminder, children should come in school-appropriate costumes without weapons and without face paint.  After our Halloween Parade in the morning, we will come back to the classroom for our 3rd Grade party (where all classrooms will be open for all third grade students) from 9:30-10:30am (with clean-up time included).  After, the children can change out of their costumes into more comfortable clothing if they choose.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me for any reason, small or large. I love working with your children and we are on our way to becoming a thoughtful and responsible community of learners.  
Friday, September 9, 2016

September 9, 2016 News

Thank you for attending Back-to-School Night!  For those of you that were unable to attend the meeting…a note about Word Study…the children will be introduced to a new word sort each Day 1 in the six-day cycle (and they will be introduced to their first word sort next Thursday).  They are responsible for studying the words until the test, which is on Day 6.  The children should choose three ways to practice their words (using the choice sheet that is taped on the inside of their word study notebook).  I discourage children from doing all three choices all in one night as that is not best for learning.  Periodically throughout the year, the children will be exposed to new choices to help them practice their words.  Please refer to the “Helpful Info” section on the blog for other important documents. 

Your children have enjoyed reading and writing.  Next week, I will have a chance to begin my “formal” reading conferences with the children.  We will have a guest teacher on Thursday so I can have these conferences with students.  These first conferences will give me a chance to assess the children.  During writer’s workshop, the children will begin to write small moments, meet with their writing partners, and assess their own work. 

One other note about reading at home: I will not be sending home a reading calendar for the children to keep track of their reading minutes.  I have read some research that shows this kind of “homework” can turn children off to reading and that is, of course, not my goal!  Instead, I want children to develop a daily/nightly habit of reading.  In the planners, you will see 20 minutes in the reading category.  I know that some children are reading much more than that, and some are reading less.  I want reading to be an enjoyable experience for your child.  If they want to read a book (or more) to a sibling, I highly encourage it, as it develops a bond between siblings and a mutual love of reading.  Some families in the past have had “family reading time,” where they are all experiencing literature.  Some families may choose to read the same book and have discussions about it.  Whatever works for your family, do it!  If you have any questions, please let me know. 

We will begin our “official” work in our math book next week.  Our first unit is Place Value to 10,000, including addition and subtraction of larger numbers.  We also will work on our math facts in class.  There are many websites listed on the right-hand side of the blog where children can practice their math skills and math facts.  The children will be getting their IXL accounts very soon!

Next week, we will begin talking about “long ago” in what we now know as Minnesota.  We will begin to answer our big question, “What was here?”  In science, we will discuss different aspects of phenology.  We will learn different Minnesota birds in preparation for our FeederWatch program (it begins in November).   

Picture Day is Monday, September 19th.  You can fill out the paper form or online.  We will have our pictures taken at 10:15am.

Please remember to sign up to volunteer (if your schedule allows).  Our classroom coordinators, Adele Braun and Karen Shaul, will compile them all so they can make our volunteer list for field trips, parties, and other special events.  Thank you in advance for your time! 

On the horizon…Homecoming!  We will celebrate with a non-uniform Blue and Gold Day (or other Breck apparel) and attend the Homecoming Coronation next Friday afternoon.  You are more than welcome to come next Saturday, September 17th to attend the Blessing of the Animals (11:00am) and the Homecoming BBQ (12:00pm). 

Believe it or not, conferences are just around the corner on October 6th and 7th.  If possible, I would love for your child to attend.  We will be setting goals in class and will share that information with you at the conference.  If you have any questions regarding conferences, please feel free to ask.  Online registration will begin soon.  Be on the lookout for a letter outlining these dates.

Minnesota Amazing Race Project update: if your family already knows your location for this project, would you mind letting me know?  I will keep track in the hopes that we don’t have any repeats.  If you are having trouble finding a location, please let me know and I can assist you.  The directions are located in the “Helpful Info” section of the blog. 

One tidbit of information I forgot to share last night: Scholastic book order forms will come home about once a month.  It is completely voluntary to purchase books for your child.  You can either write a check (made out to Scholastic) with the paper forms, OR you can create an account online and pay with a credit card.  The first book order will home in the next couple of weeks.  The directions for how to order online can be found on the “Helpful Info” section of our blog.  One other feature of ordering online is that you can order books at any time, even from a different flyer than the ones sent from school!

If you should need me for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at or by phone at 763-381-8321.  
Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 2, 2016 News

Greetings from 3rd Grade!  We have had a great first week in Room 21!  This week has been full of activities geared toward getting to know one another and the classroom.  The children have been learning about classroom routines and procedures, as well as third grade policies.  We opened each morning with a “Team Meeting,” which set the tone for the day, giving the schedule and other important news. 

The class brainstormed and voted on our team name.  The grand winner was “The Doggy DJs.”  I am sure you will hear and see this team name many more times!  We wrote our class Mission Statement and Promises today.  The children worked hard to express their ideas and collaborated well.  A copy of it will be posted to our Blog next week. 

Hopefully, your child brought home a colored piece of felt and a note about designing his or her own pennant.  This project should be completed at home and brought in by Wednesday, September 7th.  We will share them with the class and display in the classroom.

Over the next two weeks, the children will be involved in beginning of the year assessments.  These will help guide further instruction. 

I am honored to be your child’s teacher and thank you for sharing your child with me!  I look forward to this year as I get to know your son or daughter as a learner and a child.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for any reason.  The classroom phone number is 763-381-8321 and my email is