There are a lot of us...
It was great to meet so many of you last Thursday at the Open House. Life has settled down a bit for those of us who had to move rooms. I finally found places for most of my teaching things. The next challenge is remembering just where I put each item. It is just like moving into a different house in many ways. " I know I have seen it, but where is it now?" and "I was sure I put that in this cupboard" are familiar mutterings around my room. As with most things, it just takes patience--and a photographic memory!
I am enjoying getting to know your new third grader so much. After so many years of teaching fourth grade, it is refreshing to work with the younger students. Moving from second to third grade can be a little step for some, yet a much bigger step for others. Not all children develop at the same rate, with some more ready to take on the third grade world, while others are still a bit reluctant to leave second grade behind. You will see more significant changes as your child moves from one level to the next throughout their academic careers. And, take it from me, before you know it, time has passed and your little one is headed off to college! My advice? Hug them and love them well now. It DOES go by faster than you think.
This past week we have been getting to know each other a little better and/or making new friends. I like the thought processes I have observed thus far. We definitely have some divergent thinkers in our group. As of this writing, we are 29 in number, which entitles us to an aide for a portion of the day. That is good news. Mrs. Smith has been busy interviewing prospective candidates and we should have someone in place by the end of this week. (cross your fingers) Willow Hill is filled beyond capacity this year! The magic number is 29+ for grade three. Should we drop a student, and roll back to 28, then we'll lose the aide time. However, whatever happens, happens, and we'll deal with each situation as it comes along.
We have also had to do quite a bit of testing over these initial days. Some of it has been on computer, and some with paper and pencil. In addition, we are also launching the Readers' and Writers' Workshops. I am excited about both of these, but especially about the reading. It promises to be fun! Some of your children's stories have made me laugh right out loud. Out of the mouths of babes proves to be a true adage in third grade. Therefore, I am glad I made the move back to grade 3 again. It is good to be refreshed every so often.
As I told some of you at Open House, we are picking up speed as each day goes by. I have planned to add a new subject to our schedule each day and we are almost at a full day. Our assignment books, (i.e. D.A.B. or Daily Assignment Book) just started going home this week. Please check this planner over with your child every day. Students have been told to have either Mom or Dad (or other responsible adult) sign it each night, and then return it to school the next day. Feel free to drop me a note in there if you would like. As a mother of 3 boys, I am well aware of how busy the life of a parent can be. Sometimes, that was all I had time to do--to just write a quick note. Or, if email works better for you, then drop me a line that way. Once again, that address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Each day we will fill out the D.A.B. together in class towards the end of the afternoon. I happened to have amassed some flexible notebooks as covers for them from previous years' various projects. I would really like to collect the notebooks at the end of the year in June and recycle them again with next year's class. Therefore, I instructed the students to work hard at keeping them clean and in good shape. Now, I may be totally naive in that regard, but one can always hope, right? You should expect to see what we have done during the day in various subjects, as well as whether there is homework or not. I have also included a schedule of special classes such as art, music, and gym in case you need to refer to it when making appointments. (My youngest son used to become absolutely livid if he had to miss gym for any reason!) You will also find a box telling you which color your child was on for the day: green-yellow-red. This is only so that you know how well your child is following the rules and the directions given at school. There shouldn't be any surprises at the end of each trimester. Communication is the key!
The rule of thumb is 10 mins. per grade level for homework, thus third grade should average about 30 minutes a night in which to complete assignments. Sometimes the homework may be something that did not get finished during worktime at school, and other assignments might be given out as simply work to do totally at home. The latter will be the case for spelling in particular. Students will start a new word sort on Friday, with the practice work expected to be done at home with an adult. There will be prescribed assignments for the different nights, however, you might find it easier to divide up the workload differently. As long as all is completed prior to the test on the following Thursday, please feel free to tailor it to your schedule and lifestyle. This year we will need the words back on Thursday as well, as we plan to paste them into our spelling/word journals. Stay tuned for more specific directions when we launch the first word sorts this Friday.
Keep in touch. I can't know what you are thinking unless you let me know, be it positive or negative.