Daily 5/Literacy Café
The Daily 5 is a routine that we will use in our classroom for students to build reading and writing stamina. These routines are Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing and Word Work. The Literacy Café is a model used to build reading and writing skills while students work on the Daily 5. I’m sure you will hear your child talk a lot about this! At the beginning of the year, students will set goals to improve reading and writing skills. During our literacy block in the morning, students will work on the Daily 5. They will participate in reading and writing conferences, reading groups, and other literacy activities based on their goals, reading ability, and reading and writing skills. Throughout the year, a Parent Pipeline will be sent home which demonstrates a skill and tells how parent’s can support their child’s reading at home. These are for your information and I hope you will find them useful. Research shows that reading engagement has the strongest correlation to achievement over any other factor, i.e. homework, gender, socioeconomic status, etc., therefore, getting students interested and motivated to read will be our biggest mission this year! As a result, we will also be reading voraciously! Students will be able to choose most, if not all of the books they read. Please encourage reading at home. Going to the public library on a regular basis is highly encouraged. Should you notice that your child is having a difficult time finding books they enjoy, please feel free to contact me. It is crucial that we work together! The acronym we use for choosing books that can also be helpful in a book store or at the library is I PICK:
I I look at a book
C Comprehend (understand)
K Know all the words
I wholeheartedly believe in cooperative learning in the classroom. Students are placed in mixed ability groups so that they may help each other during the learning process. Research has shown that all students do better when they are allowed to discuss and defend their ideas as they learn. Working in small groups also helps students learn valuable social skills they will need throughout life. Parents are often concerned about grades in the cooperative learning classroom. Please be assured that all grades come from individual assignments and tests. No student's grade will be raised or lowered based on the performance of others in the group.
Weekly Progress Reports
Each Friday, a weekly progress report is sent home. I ask that you sign it and return it on Monday. I feel that this is extremely important to keep you aware of your child’s progress throughout the year. The report will be in the Weekly Folder. Enclosed in the folder will also be corrected assignments and important handouts. Please remove the papers, read over the comments on the progress report, sign it, and return it to school with your child. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s progress feel free to contact me at anytime. There is a designated section for your input, please do not hesitate to use it!
Students have access to our classroom library. Students may check out books and I encourage them to check out those that are at their reading level as well as based on interest. I expect students to return books when finished and to care for them as if they are “real” library books. Several times throughout the year there is the opportunity for students to order books from Scholastic Book Club. I have found these to be much cheaper than bookstores and they make great gifts too! By sending in a book order, I receive free books for our classroom library. When ordering books, please make a check out to Cash or Scholastic.
Homework is necessary for practicing skills that have been taught or for enriching the classroom experience. In order to help students get their homework assignments done, students will take home a student planner each night. They will write their assignments in the appropriate boxes for that day. After they complete an assignment, they should place it in the folder within the planner or just paperclip it to the page of their assignments. Parents are expected to sign their child’s planner every night for reading only; however, I encourage parents to check that the other assignments are completed also. I expect all homework and class work to be turned in on time. As a general rule, late assignments will not be accepted or graded. However, students will have the opportunity to earn "homework passes" throughout the year. A homework pass can be used in the place of a nights reading or a spelling assignment only. I encourage students to save their homework passes in case they forget an assignment or have a legitimate situation that prevents them from completing their work. Students will not be allowed to call home if they forget their work. Organization is the key to success! Students are penalized if assignments are not completed.
Each week, students have two spelling assignments to complete, reading each night, and a math worksheet. At times, there will also be science or social studies activities. Please note that if students have a reading assignment in a subject area, this may count towards their reading minutes! On these nights, they do not need to read in addition to the other assignment. I realize that students have other activities that they are involved in as well as important family time so I try to keep a regular schedule for homework. If you find that your child is spending an excessive amount of time completing homework, please contact me. An hour a night should be about normal.
Regular school attendance is critical to the learning process. When your child is absent, he or she misses valuable instructional time. Please send a written note of explanation whenever your child is absent. Students are permitted to make up work missed during absences. However, some activities will be difficult or impossible for students to make up (such as science experiments and hands-on math activities). Therefore, your child may be given an alternate assignment.
Classroom Management System
This year our classroom is using a bear den to keep track of behaviors. The goal is to keep one’s bear in the den all week. If this goal is accomplished, the student can pick a prize out of the honey jar at the end of the week. Students who are not following directions or our class rules (for a list of these rules see the last page in this packet) will receive a warning. If the behavior continues, the student will be asked to take their bear out and they lose their reward for the week. If the student does not improve their behavior and has to be spoken to a third time, they lose recess and must write a note home telling why they lost recess and moved their bear. The note must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned the following day. The principal will be used as a last resort and for extreme circumstances. In order for learning to take place in the classroom and to keep children safe there must be a reward and consequence system. This has been an effective system in the past and students enjoy getting rewarded for good behavior.
**Donations of small prizes and candy are always welcome and would be very appreciated to help support this system!
Computers in the classroom are a wonderful way to extend and enrich learning. In third grade, many projects and activities involve using the computer and students are much more motivated with this hands-on exposure. All Internet sites and programs are educationally related and supervision is always a priority. Throughout the year, I will send home notices with educational websites pertaining to a unit of study. Hopefully, you will find these beneficial if you have Internet access. If you ever need a recommendation for a website to help your child study math facts, etc. please feel free to ask and I will be happy to find you a useful site.
Show and Tell
In third grade students are not permitted to bring in toys and objects for show and tell. However, if a student has something to share pertaining to an area of study, than he/she is more than welcome to bring it in. Time is limited and therefore I ask that parents help support this guideline. Many students like to bring in toys, dolls, and stuffed animals but this should be discouraged as problems may arise between students. My policy is if it is not needed for school leave it at home! Thank you for your support.
Invitations may not be brought to school unless ALL students in the class are invited. Otherwise, invitations should be mailed. This is in the interest of all children. Birthday treats are welcome to help a child celebrate at school. Treats will be shared at snack time, so please make sure that if you are sending something in it comes in for our snack at or before 10:00. Because of the early time, treats other that cupcakes/sweets are welcome such as cut up fruit, pudding snacks, muffins, popcorn bags, etc. are welcome. Because of limited time, please send in items that are in individual servings as well as supplies if needed such as forks or plates. It is difficult to cut, prepare, and pass out treats that are not individually cut or wrapped in a timely manner. This is very much appreciated.
Students are allotted ten-fifteen minutes for snack each morning. If students wish to have a small, healthy snack during that time, they need to bring it with them. Snack will not be provided at school. Because our lunchtime is at TBD, I encourage students to bring in something to eat. Many of them are hungry at this time and cannot wait for lunch, but having a small snack helps their cravings.
Projects are a great way to assess student learning rather than just by giving tests and homework. I feel that projects also provide an extension to learning and help students get involved. In third grade there is about one project assigned each month. Students are usually highly motivated about doing projects and it is a great way to see their strengths in addition to routine assignments. Each project is different and will have explicit directions as well as a grading rubric. Projects will either be completed with a partner, in a small group, or individually depending on the assignment. Students are always given ample time to complete a project and they also have time to work on projects at school, however, this can be limited. Some projects need to be completed at home and require some parental assistance. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions!
Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
The Berlin Central School District is dedicated to providing a safe and appropriate learning environment for all students. This year BCSD staff will continue this program to help prevent bullying. Students are encouraged to tell an adult at school and at home if they are being bullied. In the event that your child comes to you please notify a school staff member as soon as possible. Throughout the year we will hold class meetings and participate in activities to help prevent bullying.
Contacting the Teacher
I am at the school from 8:00 until about 3:30 each day. If you need to speak with me, you can contact the school and leave a message, and I will get back with you as soon as possible. The school number is 658-2690. I also have an email address where you can reach me. I check it frequently each day and for simple questions about homework, etc., it is highly effective. My email is Tpeter@berlincentral.org . I like to keep communication high between parents and view it as an essential part of the education experience. Please feel free to contact me at anytime for any reason.
Let’s have a great year together!