Thank you for stopping by to see what your child has been up to. You will find useful resources and information updated here frequently.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Holidays and Hoopla!

I hope you all had a wonderful extended weekend last week. I wanted to give you a few quick updates to get the end of the month wrapped up but will revisit this week with some classroom peeks as well.

Math night is Tuesday, November 29th here at FPE. Greg Tang Jr. is coming to host and teach students lots of games and activities to use at home. It will be well worth your time. 
The book fair will also be open! 

We are making our Santa's Breakfast ornaments this week!

We will do a school supplies gift exchange the last week prior to our winter break. I would ask that you not exceed $5-7.00 on the total cost of the gift. Girls will exchange with girls and boys will exchange with boys, however items one might consider "gender-specific" are not necessary. Items can be neutral or otherwise and chosen by the child if desired. Gifts should be wrapped and labeled "For a Girl, from _____" or "For a Boy, from_____." I would like all the wrapped items by December 15th. As always, if you need assistance in providing a gift for the exchange I am happy to help. We will celebrate with a few snacks, crafts, and our gift exchange on December 19th. 

Here is a list of ideas:

Color Pencils
Fancy Notebook
Watercolor Paint
Pencil Sharpener
Pencils (Any)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Halloween, Highlights, and Links


We are all set for snacks, treats, and food for our Halloween Party. Due to allergies, I ask (beg) that you not send in extra cookies, cupcakes or treats. If you want to send in non-food items to pass out (pencils, erasers, etc.) that is completely fine! Thank you so much for respecting my policy on snacks and food in the classroom. You guys have been awesome to work with so far this year. 
Our party will take place in the morning (on the half day). You are more than welcome to attend for the parade starting at 10:00 on Tuesday, October 31st. Unless we have already spoken, please give us a little space in the classroom. I have all the helpers I need this time around. Our party will consist of watching a portion of the movie Becuase of Winn Dixie, eating snacks, and walking the parade. Thanks again.

Spelling Words: Test on Friday, November 3rd

Students are bringing home a list to practice in their STAR Binder. We have worked on these words in class and within our writing. Feel free to check out free sites like Spelling City to encourage your child to practice. 

Other Ideas for Practice:

Typing the words in funky fonts on your computer at home is another fun way to practice. My favorite is shaving cream in the shower! Spray some shaving cream on the shower wall, your child can write the words while getting clean! 

Here is the list in case your child's copy gets lost in the shuffle. 


Respect Assembly Highlights

Our classroom offered their insights into who they felt was the most respectful student in our classroom. I knew it was going to be a tough choice, so I asked for their help. Through some secret ballots, we all agree that Sam is one respectful student! Congrats to you Samantha. 

Here is our class singing the Respect Song! We were the featured class, and they did a great job.

Michigan Writers Contest

Over the next few weeks, students will be working on publishing a short story. This will be voluntary for students who would like to enter the Write Michigan Short Story Contest. All the work will be typed in a Google Doc and students will be able to work on their piece at home and school.
The in-school writing work dates will be:
November 3, 8, 17, 22, 27
I will give students time in class to work on their short stories, and any student who wants some additional help can stay in at recess for extra help. Again, completely voluntary. Some kiddos are very excited about this opportunity. If it turns out to be an indoor recess day, I will attempt to work with students in the library. Any changes to this schedule will be communicated with the students. Parents are responsible for submitting their child's story. Please visit the website to see how! All entries are due by November 30th, and I will send reminders and help in any way I can. This contest is free for all children under the age of 18.

Here is our #WhyIWrite poster along with some other FPE writers! We made a mini graffiti-like wall in the hallway.

Check out these focused writers!

Google Classroom and Google Docs
Students each have access to Google Classroom and Google Docs. Please ask your child about their login information!

Headphones or Earbuds
If your child would like to use their own earbuds or headphones for our small jack Chromebooks, they are welcome to bring a pair to keep here at school. I have a safe spot to store them in between uses.

Reading--Here is a picture of students creating their plot timelines!

Math-We continue to rock and roll with multiplication and division! 


Students learned how to use the TenMarks website this week. It offers videos, models, and opportunities for students to practice math skills we have worked on in class! I have assigned several multiplication and division activities with a due date all the way into December. There is no penalty if students do not finish all the activities before December. I hope students will use the site to practice when they can, but this is an optional home opportunity for you and your child to use as you navigate math together this year!
Students' login information is located in their star binder! Have fun!

Home Opportunity!

Make a fort at home and send me a picture to share with the class!

The class and I read an article about the affects of electronics on children's health. I read it to them because it supported my persuasive essay I am writing as a model of essay writing during our workshop time. The class all wanted to share the article with you! We decided to give ourselves the challenge to make a fort this weekend with our parents. Read the article! Make a fort!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


I'm looking forward to talking with each of you about the start of our year in third-grade. We will discuss many topics individualized to your child as well as some overall topics.

One of the topics we will discuss is homework and my expectations for your child through the year. I am a firm believer in children learning through both explicit and exploratory experiences. Below are some links and information that will support you before, during, and after our conversation this week.

What does homework look like for math?
One of the biggest and most important foundational skills your child will learn this year is understanding and using multiplication and division. This link, (click here) has a great explanation that supports learners of all levels in their understanding of multiplication. Take a look. I will be giving you a set of the "multiplication subitizing cards" at our conference.

What does homework look like for spelling?
We will have a spelling test (words in isolation) one time per month. These words will consist mostly of sight words and a small selection of words that follow a common spelling pattern. Our spelling work within the classroom will consist mostly of working with spelling patterns and common sight words within our writing. Students may also get 3-4 individual words to work on for the month.

What does homework look like for science and social studies?
Mrs. Shrontz will occasionally give students tasks to complete outside of the classroom to support experiments and investigations. Social studies and science are both full of new vocabulary, and occasionally I will send home information and study guides for students practice vocabulary before unit tests.

What does homework look like for reading?
Your child is likely doing a lot of reading on their own. This is wonderful news. I would also still encourage you to read aloud to your child. Choose a chapter book from a favorite series or a picture book to share together. Reading frequently is important for long-term learning in every content area. The bookmark that should be coming home in your child's independent book should be signed by an adult on a fairly regular basis. I do not penalize students if their bookmark is not signed however if the bookmark is never signed, your child and I will have a conversation about responsibilities when reading at home. I always have extra bookmarks. If your child is reading a book at home or with you, they should have a bookmark to track pages read to share with me. It can live in their STAR Binder as a holding spot, so they always have it.

As always, please ask questions or reach out with any concerns you may have regarding homework or any aspect of your child's third-grade year.

Monday, September 25, 2017

"How was your day?"

"How was your day?"

"What did you learn?"
I don't know.

Does this scenario play out at your house after a school day? Asking your child about their day can be a great opportunity to find out what your child is excited about each day. Here are a few starters.

What is your favorite part of each day? What makes it great?
What is something new and unexpected this year?
Name one person who is always kind to you and how they are kind.
Who do you think needs a friend? Could that friend be you?
What are you hoping to get to do tomorrow?
What part of the day do you get to use your imagination the most?

Have you taken a peek at our #classroombookaday Padlet?
QR code for this padlet
This is one of my favorite parts of each day! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

What's Your Child Buzzing About?

We are almost a full month into the school year, and our classroom is really starting to hum. I hope your child is enjoying third-grade and buzzing with ideas and excitement for school this year.
Here is a glimpse at what we've been up to the past two weeks, some reminders, requests, and a few things to look forward to!


We continue to build our stamina as readers and think about what environment is best for our independent reading time. We talked a lot this week about what to do when we feel ourselves getting distracted, tired, or uncomfortable. Our reading environment is an important factor in our reading stamina. Students worked to make good decisions and problem solve when they found themselves drifting from their book.
We started reading Because of Winn Dixie this week as our chapter book read aloud. This is one of my favorites to read to third graders (but I'm pretty sure I've said that about all our read alouds so far).


We clarified our understanding of some of our writing tools and continue to work on our personal narrative unit of study. Students have many tools to utilize throughout the writing workshop. I've seen some great storytellers emerge in our classroom and lots of smiles during our writing block.


We continue to work on representing multiplication problems in many ways. Even students who mentally solve math problems often benefit from multiple representations of mathematical thinking. Students have page 29 and 30 as homework this weekend if they did not already finish it at school.
Here students are sharing their independent practice examples with the class.

Students sharing examples. 

Social Studies

This week we reviewed landforms found in Michigan as well as discussed the many bodies of water, their characteristics and how they were formed. We also touched on vegetation and climate, discussing the impacts of temperature and the great lakes on precipitation.  A favorite legend to share with students is the story of sleeping bear dunes. Here is a short video we watched explaining the famous story.


Last Friday we celebrated #DotDay2017! This celebratory day is inspired by the story by Peter H. Reynolds call The Dot. Take a look!

We had to make a green and white dot on green and white day!


Sharing (show and tell) is an opportunity for your child to talk about something important! Each child's snack day is also sharing day.
Annabelle is sharing pictures from a trip!

Library books are due on Tuesday's.

Miss Miller (music teacher) sent home a yellow note regarding recorder purchases. Please be sure to fill out and return the form as soon as you can! If you need another form, please let me know.

October 10th is the official start of conference week. I will be sending home information early next week to begin setting up dates and times to meet with you.

October 12th is a half day, and there is no school on October 13th.

October 31st is a 1/2 day of school as well as the Halloween party and school parade! The parade will be at 10:00 a.m. through the halls of FPE. Our party will consist of snacks and hopefully (crossing my fingers we will have finished the book) we will watch the movie Because of Winn Dixie.


Two items we could use in our classroom are--

  • White Notecards (Blank or Lined)
  • Containers of Wet Ones brand hand wipes

Carnival Basket News!

Our basket theme will be fishing. I will send home more detailed information regarding donations for our contribution to the carnival. I am also open to a volunteer helping me organize and pack up the basket. If you are unfamiliar with the classroom carnival basket, stay tuned! For most of you...this is old hat. :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Week Two--Check!

Here is a look at what we've been up to this week!

If you have missed a post from last week, feel free to go back to the main screen, scroll, and read. Typically I will update with a post (newsletter) every two weeks at a minimum.

Have you seen our #classroombookaday virtual bulletin board? Visit by clicking here

Do you have a Twitter account? I will occasionally post snippets of our day using my personal Twitter account, @Betsy_writes and will include @FPE_Olivet and #EagleNationPride. You can search any of these to see our latest tweets. 

We finished our first chapter book read-aloud, The Hundred Dresses. It is a favorite of mine to share at the beginning of the year. Our new classroom chapter book read-aloud is The Night Crossing


Students continue to choose books that are part of a healthy reading diet. We discussed selecting books that are not only at our reading level but that also are of interest or maybe different from what we typically read. It is always my goal to stretch students' reading lives to explore books that include both a variety of text types but also grow them as readers.
Every morning we do something called, "The Reading Minute." Through next week I will continue to "host" the reading minute portion of our day. This week I read two different page spreads from a favorite nonfiction picture book and two poems. After next week I will be putting a sign-up sheet in the classroom to open up the reading minute for student led selections. Any day that is left available I will fill in myself. Students can share a favorite paragraph from their independent reading, maybe a news article, a poem, or anything that takes about a minute to read and is appropriate for a school audience. This gives students an opportunity to practice reading in front of a group and a chance to share text they enjoy. It is completely optional but I will be encouraging students to give it a try. Consider starting to collect text for the reading minute that your child might like to read for the class. Maybe even practice a few times at home!


Writing exercises have been a focus as we begin to expand our writing workshop routines. This week we did a stamina challenge exercise, people/memory exercise, and a four box exercise to work our writing muscles. 

We continue to work on noticing groups and efficiently multiplying items within groups to find solutions to both word problems and equations. This week we focused on determining what information was shared within a problem and what was unknown. Ask your child to explain our two math vocabulary words of the week: factor, product


This week students reviewed a handful of consonant sounds and we explored the many different spellings that can take the "shape" of these sounds. We will continue to review and discuss all 44 phonemes (sounds) as we launch into our individual spelling plans. Our main focus for a majority of the school year will be on the many different vowel patterns that occur in print. There will be occasional spelling homework with a majority of the tasks completed during the school day. Spelling tests on frequently misspelled sight words that are expected to be mastered this year will occur as needed. I base most of my spelling instruction on student needs and what they are doing within their writing pieces. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding spelling instruction or expectations. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Great Lakes and Marshmallows

Remember, no school tomorrow (Friday) or Monday for the Labor Day weekend!
Also, we will finish decorating and personalizing our writer's notebooks on Tuesday. If your child has any photos, stickers or special items to add we will complete this project early next week. 

Today students learned how the great lakes were formed!

We also watched a short drone video of the Mackinac Bridge! 

We had a team building activity today using spaghetti, tape, string, and a marshmallow. Ask your child what each team had to accomplish.