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, 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. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Personalizing Our Notebooks

We will begin personalizing our Writer's Notebooks tomorrow (Thursday). The students have been generating lots of ideas the past two days to get ready to start some stories. Here is a list of items your child might want to bring in to help in the project.

I did remind them to ASK before swiping pictures from your favorite photo albums. :)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Starting Strong!

The students and I are getting to know each other while learning simple routines and procedures. Thank you again for trusting me to prepare, protect, and teach your child this year. I look forward to sharing in your child's milestones as well as discussing what's next! Having an open mind to the process of learning, finding the diamonds within your child's gems, and living up to who we want to be as a person will be important values built upon throughout the year within our classroom.

On day one, we asked ourselves what kind of person we want to be and how we want to be treated. Students responded on sticky notes and we talked about giving/receiving, as well as getting out what you put in and how there is a relationship between the two.

Students have a bookmark to keep in their current book of choice. Students are to keep track of pages read each day. I would love for every child to read every day at home however, I know this can be a challenge. Reading 80-100 (or more) minutes a week at a pace that is convenient for your family is completely acceptable. That might mean 10 minutes tonight, thirty tomorrow, but maybe Thursday is very busy and it isn't going to fit into the schedule. Do what works for you, your family, and your child, but most of all make it a priority and it will be.
You do not need to sign every single line of the "at home" reading (no need to initial the "at school" reading sections either). If you sign most of the "at home" reading sections, it helps me to know you are aware of your child's reading progress through the year. This is simply a tool for discussion as students evaluate their reading lives. My goal is to help students find and foster a love of reading. It is a game changer WAY beyond third grade and your help is greatly appreciated.

We have started to talk about sets and groups to build toward our first mathematics unit! Students brought home a letter today explaining some of the learning we will be doing the first several weeks of school. By the end of third-grade students will have learned tools and strategies to fluently multiply through 10X10.

STAR Binder
Students brought home their STAR Binders on Monday! We will continue to add a few items as the week continues! Feel free to use the paper to write me notes! Your child will need to alert me to the note so I don't miss it.

Keep an eye out for snack calendars in the STAR Binder. Students will begin helping to provide snack next week (we currently have 25 students). Remember, it is extremely important to read labels and be cautious of ingredients that may cause significant problems for students with allergies. If your child does not have an allergy, I would ask you to consider: just as you want me to keep YOUR child safe please respect the policies I have communicated to you so I can keep ALL the children safe. If you ever have any questions please refer to the tab at the top of this page or ask me for clarification.

Students are able to bring a small throw pillow to use during independent work time. As long as it fits in their chair it is acceptable. Usually, 20 inches by 20 inches works pretty well. No full-size pillows or extra large throw pillows will be used at school. The purpose for the pillow is to give students something to sit on or lean on during work time. Sitting in a hard chair for long periods of time is uncomfortable and I have found the pillow offers a little wiggling and comfort when students are sitting. If you have a pillow that will work, feel free to send it in. No other child will use the pillow your child brings to the classroom. If the pillow works for your child it can stay here at school, if it is not helpful or causes a distraction, I will send it home.

Thanks for checking in! Have a great week as we head into Wednesday.