Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year!

Welcome Back!  I hope you all had a wonderful break, mine was refreshing, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

I am excited for this year to start.  Third grade is such a wonderful year, the children move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”.  They get to learn multiplication and division and become skilled problem solvers.  They transform into engineers, meteorologists, and, paleontologists as we tackle our fantastic Next Generation Science Standards.  Students will continue to stretch themselves in writing as they learn to write  for a variety or purposes and audiences.  Social studies is rich with cultural relevance and experiences as we study Native People groups, the 50 states, and the communities we live in.  Third grade truly is a fabulous year.

As we dive into teacher inservice this next week, please know that I am on campus and available to meet with you if you have any questions, or concerns, that you would like to discuss before the year begins.My new email is amansfield@st-johnschool.org, and I would love to hear from you.

Be sure to mark your calendars for Curriculum Night on September 7th at 7pm.  And I will see you all on August 30th.

April 7th News

Despite the storm outside my window I am reminding myself that the Joy of Easter, and the break that follows, are right around the corner.  Perhaps it is fitting as we enter into Holy Week that the windows  shake, lights  flicker, the wind  howls, and rain  pours.

We had a wonderful time at our field trip this week- the children loved their day as junior paleontologists.  We completed our dinosaur non-fiction class read aloud today, we will move into fossils next week, and cap it off with an adaptation project after break.  It is a great unit of study, the children are actively engaged and their imaginations are captivated.

IMG_4946 IMG_4950 IMG_4948 IMG_4952


In math we wrapped up our challenging fraction unit.  All of the students in the class mastered part/whole, fraction vocabulary, fractions on a number line, and are able to compare fractions in a variety of ways.  It is a challenging unit and the children persevered! Nice work! Time to the minute and geometry are up next.

In Social Studies the children wrapped up our Geography unit with great presentations today.  Their engaging C.B.C. projects came home with them today- after break we will complete this standard by memorizing the states in each of the 5 regions.

Next week will be a reflective week- our focus is Holy Week.  Look for less homework, and more time to pray, reflect, and be together as a family.  Friday will be a day to “unplug” from media- let’s go green and use our media time to connect to God and those around us. We will be doing 2 art projects on Friday- if you are interested in helping, let me know.  Good Friday is also our special shadow Stations of the cross at 2pm- join us if you can- We will have a silent dismissal this day!  It is very powerful and we appreciate your support and participation in this experience!

Thanks for all you do- and as always, don’t hesitate to email me with any questions or concerns!



March 24th News

Today was a special day in room 25.  We had a student visiting our room for the morning, it was lovely to watch your kind children extend the gift of hospitality- inviting him to play fluency games, encouraging him to join them for recess and caring for him at lunch.  I believe he had a wonderful experience here at St. John.  Additionally, Father Crispin came in to spend some time with the children.  Each of the students were able to share the Station of the Cross they made and tell Father all about it.  After all the children had a chance to share Father blessed the Stations and took pictures to show to the children in Africa.  It was a special 30 minutes for all of us.

In math this week we continued our fraction unit.  Students are also working to master the 6 times table.  Next week we will master our 4’s together and then move onto our 8’s (using doubling as a key mental math strategy).

In Social Studies the children are wrapping up our geography project, Last week each student researched one of the 5 regions of North America.  This week they took that research and have been working on a variety of projects which they will present to the class next week.  I love seeing their creativity- from posters, research papers, to ambitious power point presentations- each one of the children are finding ways to stretch and express themselves.

The children are continuing to build reading fluency and comprehension skills in book club and through achieve 3000- this week they had a focused unit with achieve around the challenging skill of note taking.

****Important Dates****

Wednesday March 29th- Class Picture Day – Dress Uniform

Friday March 31st- 2:30pm Our class leads Stations of the Cross

Tuesday April 4th- Field Trip to Burke Museum

March 3rd News

I was reminded several times this week why I love teaching at St. John School. The children were so respectful of our frequent classroom visits from the accreditation team.  They loved talking to the team, articulating in their own words why they love St. John School.  We have a great community here for sure!

We also completed our Stations of the Cross art/religion project.  We studied 3 artists-Joan Brand-Landkamer, Georges Rouault, and Makoto Fujimura.  The children and I were even lucky enough to have a visit from Mr. Fujimura- he is a friend of mine and happened to be in town for a conference just as we were kicking off our project.  It was meant to be.  As I looked around the classroom at all of the hand-crafted, thoughtful Stations I was again reminded of why I wanted to teach in a Catholic School community.  I can’t imagine teaching anywhere else.IMG_4909

This next week we will continue our Iditarod research project.  The children are reading several non-fiction texts, a historical fiction book, and visiting various websites to learn all about this historical event in Alaska’s history.

In math we will build on our division unit by tackling fractions.

The children started new reading group novels this week.  Ask them what they are reading, they are all very excited about their new books.

***Reminder no school Friday 3/10, the teachers will be at a conference.**

February 24 News

It is finally here! The accreditation visiting team will be here next week and we are ready to show off what a wonderful school we have. The children will need to be in full dress uniform Wednesday March 1st-Friday March 3rd. The team will be popping into classrooms, interviewing students, families, and teachers. We have been reviewing our SLE’s in class on a routine basis- ask your children which SLE is their favorite and why.

In addition to the visit, this next week marks the beginning of Lent. Feel free to join us for our Ash Wednesday Mass at 9:00 on March 1st. Throughout Lent the children will pray the Stations of the Cross (they will be making their own Stations of the Cross this coming week in our Religion/Art unit), practice 5 minutes of silence on Fridays, participate in Rice Bowl, and focus on what it means to be “Christ centered students”. It is a beautiful season here at St. John and I look forward to it every year.

The auction is coming up soon! Mr. and Mrs. Ocampo were here this week working with the children on this year’s fabulous art project. Get your wallets ready, it is going to be lovely. Here is a previewIMG_7725
Thank you for all the b-day wishes!  You have such great kids.IMG_4984

February 14th News

Happy Valentine’s Day-  the children celebrated with a Valentine’s Day themed multiplication scoot, wrote prayers to each other, shared cards, and made catapults to launch candy hearts.  It was a great day.


In math we are continuing to master multiplication and division.  the children all conferenced with me this week and identified specific strategies that will help them learn multiplication facts.  Ask your child what strategy works best for her/him, she/he should be using that strategy to practice at home each night.  We also completed a graphing unit this week, the children collected weather data for the first 20 days of January, learned how to create a line graph, and graphed their data. Graphing is a skill that requires accuracy and precision, the children showed great tenacity as they mastered this skill.

In reading the children are all finishing up their first book group novels!  They will make book talk posters to present to the class and will soon be assigned their new novel.  We are also continuing to utilize Achieve 3000 in class, the children are being challenged to strive for accuracy while reading and answering questions.  Our goal is that each child in the class master 75% or better when answering the text questions.  The children are learning to take notes, refer back to the article, and to take their time when answering the follow up questions.  All of these skills are fabulous, both for comprehension, and retention.

In writing this week the children devised a class rubric for our writing workshop time of the day.  We will kick this off this week with our “winter writing prompts”.

We wrapped up our weather unit this week and will begin our new SS unit after our long weekend.

In religion this week the children learned about the abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky.  Kandinsky is often attributed with being one of the pioneers of the abstract art movement.  He had a neurological condition called synesthesia, where more than one of your senses is triggered simultaneously- Kandinsky would hear music when he saw color.  The children interacted with our “community” religion standards, learning about how we are all created in the image of God and have value to add to our community.  We talked about how God often uses a part of ourselves that we may not consider a gift to bless the community, just like he used Kandinsky’s synesthesia to create a fabulous new style of art.  The children created their own Kandinsky inspired paintings which will soon be on display in our room.  IMG_4858IMG_4857

The children are also working to fulfill another of our Religion Standards and  memorize the Apostle’s Creed.  The children worked collaboratively to illustrate a part of the Apostle’s Creed and these drawings will hang under the crucifix in our classroom to help us visualize this Creed as work together to memorize this essential prayer.

Thanks for all you do, enjoy your long weekend.

Class news and Catholic Schools Week info

I continue to be impressed with your children and their ability to persevere, problem solve, and utilize higher level thinking skills. This week we read several NF texts and utilized a great interactive web site , weather.thinkport.org, learning all about weather patterns and severe weather disasters.  The children used the engineering design process to take what they learned and apply it to design/model a solution to a specific weather disaster.  They are all well on their way to becoming great engineers.  The projects and poster presentations will be on display this Sunday at our open house- hope to see you all there!

IMG_4819 IMG_4822 IMG_4821 IMG_4824Sunday’s Mass and Open House kick off a very fun week!  Thanks to our “Principals of the Week” Gavin and Declan Lamott- here is the schedule of uniform changes for the week:

Monday- Free Dress, bring a can of food!

Tuesday- Uniform with Crazy Socks

Wednesday- Uniform with Any Sweatshirt You Want

Thursday- Uniform with Crazy Hat

Friday- Purple and Gold Spirit Day!!  Anything Goes  🙂  Also no need to pack a lunch, it’s on us, Nacho Bar for all students!

It will be a fun, exciting week!  Thanks for all you do to support our school- I am blessed to teach your children every single day!!

January 20th News

The students showed  grit and persistence this week during our 2nd trimester MAP testing.  I look forward to sharing their growth with you over the coming weeks through the MAP results and the 2nd trimester progress reports.  You will be pleased to see how hard they are working and how much their skills have developed this year.

In addition to MAP testing,  this week our young meteorologists were busy recording weather data, collecting rain fall measurements from the rain gauges they made, and learning about weather around the world for their weather books.  Next week they will begin to learn about severe weather disasters and begin to think like engineers- planning and  designing solutions to protect us from weather disasters.



In math the children were hard at work learning and utilizing the properties of multiplication.  We will continue to use these skills as we dive into division in the coming weeks.

Continue practicing those math facts!  Your children can attest to how much easier 3rd grade math is when they have those basic facts memorized!

In our combined Reading/Social Studies/Religion block the children learned about Martin Luther King JR and the Civil Rights Movement.  They completed non-fiction reading texts, took notes, answered questions, and used what they learned to complete an acrostic poem and reflection paper about how they too can spread peace in the classroom, neighborhood, and world.  They look forward to sharing this writing with you at the Catholic Schools open house on January 29th.

Auction News-  Jeff and Adrey Ocampo have stepped up to lead our classroom Art Auction project-  Thanks!!  they are asking that you send in any buttons ( various colors, shapes, and sizes) with your child this next week- these buttons will be used for our art project-  I saw an example of the project and you will have to out-bid me for this one.  🙂

***Important Dates****

Monday is our first accreditation visit- it is a DRESS UNIFORM day and children will be dismissed at 2:00

Thursday Progress Reports will be sent home with your student.  Please look this over with them and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about how your child is performing in the classroom.

Week of January 29- February 3rd is Catholic Schools Week– I will send out the full schedule next week, but be sure and join us on Sunday the 29th for our school Mass, followed by the 8th grade cultural fair and open house!


January 6th Classroom Update

It was a busy and chilly week here in room 25!  The unusually cold weather was a perfect lead-in to our next science unit on weather!  The children began graphing the daily temperature, sunrise/sunset schedule, and precipitation.  They also read NF texts introducing them to weather tools, terminology, and climate.  After reading they worked collaboratively to prepare engaging presentations for the class, re-teaching what they had learned.  Here is an example of the creative, articulate, and effective presentations I got to see today.



In Math the children continued to master multiplication strategies- repeated addition, equal groups, commutative property, and arrays.  Today we made Multiplication Monsters-


Next week the children will begin memorizing those much needed multiplication facts.  We will begin by memorizing the 2’s times tables.  I can not stress enough how important practice, practice, practice is for multiplication mastery!  Please challenge your child to practice facts for 15minutes each night- this practice is invaluable.  I will be sending home a variety of practice strategies- get creative and have fun- but practice a lot.

In reading, along with the NF science reading the children continue to read in their assigned book clubs, practicing fluency and comprehension strategies.  I have asked that each child also be reading a book at home towards a book report.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to email me.

Be sure to check the school bulletin and calendar for all of the important events in January (especially the early dismissal on January 23rd).

Have a lovely weekend and “Go Hawks!”