Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome to Grade Three!

Welcome to Grade Three! My name is Nicole Freel and I have taught at MRES for the past seven 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 at the end of each day. 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.

            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 they may have 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 does not allow 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 a “treat” (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, 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 so much for allowing me to work with you and your child. I know this year is going to be filled with fun, learning, and excitement!

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