Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Welcome back!

Welcome to Grade Three! My name is Nicole Freel and I have taught at MRES for the past six years. I have spent some time with the current Grade Threes in the past, and I can’t wait to enjoy every day with your awesome kids. This year, I will be the Grade Three homeroom teacher, with a few classes being taught by Mrs. Schmitt. Below are a few information items that will help make for a successful Grade Three year.

Each student will be taking home an agenda today. This agenda will go home every day, should be checked by a parent and initialed, and then sent back the following morning. This agenda will be a primary source of communication between us, so it is very important that the routine is kept up. Students also learn a valuable organizational lesson by using these agendas regularly. They will be writing reminders and notes about special events in these agendas weekly. I really appreciate your cooperation, as it helps me stay organized during those hectic school days! If you have any comments or concerns, please write them in the agenda and I will respond back to you.  Also, this is a great place to write down any appointments or absences which may occur throughout the year.

Students are encouraged to read every night. They can read aloud, silently, to a family member, friend, even a pet – any type of reading is fabulous! In the front cover of each student’s agenda is a Home Reading Log. Parents and students can work together to fill in their reading logs each night. Students will earn rewards by doing consistent reading practice at home. I will send more information home on our reading incentive program shortly.
            This year, our spelling program is changing slightly in Grade Three. Students will be working on a spelling program that is tailored to each individual student’s needs, decided by some diagnostic testing and student-teacher observations and discussions. Students will be assessed on their spelling abilities, but will not be having weekly spelling tests as in the past. Students will not need to practice specific spelling words each week, but will take home activities which can be worked on and discussed at home.           

            In Grade Three, I like to encourage students to become increasingly independent in their learning, but recognize that they are still kids and need some guidance. Reading practice is the primary homework students should by doing at home. There will be times when students will be expected to study for tests in subjects such as Science and Social Studies. Students may also be encouraged to do some extra Math activities once in a while, but this will not be very often. When studying for tests, it is important for parents to remember that in Grade Three, students have had little experience with study skills. We will review concepts at school prior to tests and study guides will be sent home well in advance, but parent guidance is very beneficial for students at this age. Any extra help you can give them when studying for tests would be great.

            Our school, and myself, are really trying to advocate students choosing healthy lifestyles this year. Students are encouraged to keep fit by exercising, and eating and drinking healthy as well. To help students in this, Milk River Elementary will no longer be allowing pop or energy drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, and other similar drinks) at school. Students are encouraged to drink milk, fruit juice and water while at school. If a student would like to bring a water bottle to fill at the fountain, they are more than welcome to do this.

            On this note, I know that kids are active and often get hungry through the school day. I sure enjoy munching on an apple while I work to get my brain moving! Students are welcome to snack on healthy foods while they are in the Grade Three room during lessons, as long as it does not interfere with learning or other students. The catch is that these must be healthy snacks. Students are welcome to eat any “treats” (such as chocolate bars, potato chips, etc.) at noon after they have finished their lunches. So feel free to pack an extra piece of fruit or a granola bar, or any other nutritious snack, for your child if you think they will need it. This is a classroom policy, so students need to remember to be respectful of their other teachers’ choices with regard to snacks.

Thanks for everything!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sharing is a Good Thing

What a nice sentiment for the beginning of the school year...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My New Banff Buddy

This week I have been having a GREAT time at a teaching conference in Banff. I am learning all about the different ways teachers can work together to make their classrooms even better. I have met tons of great people, but there was one very special friend made this morning...

My alarm clock rang, I rolled over, stretched and yawned, opening one eye to look out the window...

Look at this! What a lovely friend to say "good morning" right when I woke up!

After my new friend was done her breakfast, she had a morning nap right outside my window!

I'm on my way home tomorrow after a great four days. These wonderful summer days are ending too quickly!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kiva Doesn't Stop During the Summer!

Thanks to repayments from some of our Kiva borrowers, we were able to make a new loan today! Since school is out, I chose a person for a loan. I chose Sandra because I identify with her - see if you can figure out why...

Sandra is 48 years old and is an elementary school teacher in Ecuador. She acts as the principal and a teacher at the private school she owns. The loan she is asking for is to buy books and uniforms for the children in her school. Her goal for the next 5 years is to increase the number of grades by building an additional floor, so she can offer more students a chance to learn at her school.

You can learn more about Kiva and Sandra here: http://www.kiva.org/lend/451078

Where in the World is Miss Freel?

I have been having so much fun this summer, I have not spent time sharing that fun with you. Can you guess what city I was in a couple of weeks ago by looking at these two photos?