October 15th News

100 years!  I had a wonderful time celebrating with many of you last night.  St. John really is a unique place that has impacted so many lives over the past 100 years.

Our class was very busy this past week.  I really enjoy watching how engaged and creative this class is when it comes to learning.  They take “Active Learners” to a whole new level and it is really fun to watch!

In math the children worked with the 3 primary properties of addition- identity, associative, and commutative.  I challenged the children to work collaboratively and come up with a clear, creative, and effective way to reteach an addition property.  Who knew the properties could be so much fun!  They made games, interactive posters, poems, and crafts.  It was amazing to see what they came up with.


In social studies the children are hard at work completing the research for their Native American projects.  The children will begin working on these projects in class this week.  Additionally we will continue to learn about the 5 regions of the US.

As I mentioned we had a special guest come and lead the class in an amazing art project.  Carl Warmenhoven, a long time parish member and former St. John parent, came in on Friday to work with Mrs. Desclos.  The children learned about the Northwest Region Native People and totem poles.  The children worked in small groups to come up with a story or theme they wanted to tell in a totem pole.  Each student began sketching his/her individual piece.  Once they are complete, Carl will generously carve each piece on wood, the children will paint them, and Carl will assemble them into totem poles.  It was an incredibly engaging and exciting afternoon.

The children are settling into their reading groups.  In addition to fluency and accuracy, the children will be utilizing strategies to increase comprehension and expand vocabulary.  I encourage you to ask your child what they read that day in class, re-telling/summarizing is a wonderful tool to expand reading comprehension skills.

Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday, October 18th- Individual Picture Day: students may wear dressy free dress

**** don’t forget to sign-up for conferences October 25-28

October 8th News

I hope you all enjoyed your 3 day weekend.  The teachers had a wonderful day on Friday learning about “Christ in the Classroom” and the four great mysteries of our Catholic Faith.  As we had time to read, reflect, and discuss our faith, I was once again reminded how grateful I am to teach in a faith based institution.  I can’t imagine tackling the issues of today without this solid foundation.

This last week we wrapped up our rounding unit in math.  We will be taking an assessment on Monday to ensure mastery, and then we will be moving onto the properties of addition- commutative, associative, distributive, and identity.  The children will learn the 4 properties and will work collaboratively to creatively reteach these properties.

This week the children started our Native American research project.  They were assigned tribes and given a project/research outline.  They loved it!  “Wow, 3rd grade is AWESOME!”  “Whoa is it lunch already?”  I love learning this way, it’s so much fun!”  “You gotta check this out- look at all I learned today.”  Those were just a few of the quotes I heard during our internet research time.  They are such an engaged bunch of learners, it’s a joy to teach them.  This week we will begin to study each of the 5 regions of the US and the history of the specific tribes from that region.  The  children will become experts/learners- taking what they have already learned and adding it to our lessons.  I think this group of kids will really enjoy that.  On Friday, during parent-led art, we will have a special guest.  He, along with Jody Desclos,  will be leading the children through a totem pole lesson and the children will work collaboratively to design illustrations for a totem pole.  He will then take these drawings and carve them onto wood, connect them, and make 5 totem poles for our class.  Next week we will continue research and begin our in class projects.

The students started book clubs this week-ask them what book they are reading, who is in their group, and what they predict the book will be about.  We discussed characters, connections, and predictions as reading strategies this week.

This week we will also begin our first all class read aloud.  We will begin reading CS Lewis’ “The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe”.  It is rich in figurative language, “wonderful words”, and faith.  This book will take us up until Christmas break and is one of my favorite books to teach.

Upcoming Dates:

Thursday, October 12th- Progress Reports will be sent home along with MAP scores.  Please let me know if you have any questions after reviewing these progress reports with your child.

Friday, October 13- Jog-a-thon celebration day! Thanks to you and your support we exceeded our goal!  This will be a free dress day for the entire school (go jean day for teachers) and our class will celebrate running the most miles (my favorite incentive) with an end of day popcorn and movie party!

Saturday, October 14- OCTOBERFEST!!  Come and celebrate 100 years as a parish!  I will be there working the keg-a-rator, stop by- grab a beer (or 2) and say hi!!  I love these community building events.

Conferences- October 25-27  Sign ups available now.  


Make sure that you click on the tab with my name.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.




October 2nd News

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Sunday- Go Hawks!

Last week we completed our MAP testing.  The children worked so hard, they took their time, and really pushed themselves.  The reports will be coming home with progress reports later this month and you will be pleased with the results.  MAP data, while just one data point, does help inform my instruction.  It enables me to further differentiate instruction- tailor making lessons that will meet the needs of, and stretch, all learners in our room.

This next week I will be using the data from MAP, Achieve 3000, and our in class reading work to place the children in their 1st book club of the year.  Children will be reading novels (at their lexile levels) out loud together and will use reading strategies to help facilitate discussion about their books.  I find these book groups engaging and beneficial for the children and I am excited to get them up and running.

The children completed writing and illustrating their legends on Friday.  They are hanging in the second floor hallway, if you get a chance, come by and take a look.  The stories incorporate all the elements important to a legend ( setting, names of characters, based around something true, explain something in nature/have a moral, have a hero, and problem/solution) and are illustrated beautifully!  This is a very creative class and they were very engaged during this lesson and it shows in the final product for sure.

This week we will begin the research portion of our Native American unit.  The children will be assigned  Tribes on Monday.  They will also receive the project out line and rubric and will begin their in class research on Tuesday.  This is an in class project.  Children are always welcome to do further research at home (to extend the project) but the bulk of the work for this assignment will occurr over the next couple of weeks during class.  Let me know if you have any questions.

In math the students learned about rounding to the nearest 10- we will build on those skills this week, learning to round to the nearest 100.  We are learning about “benchmarks” and how to use a number line to locate benchmarks and help us round.  Homework this week will practice these skills.  Some of our students will be completing challenge by choice activites, taking these rounding skills to a more applied level.  It will be another hands-on, active week in math.

On Wednesday we will celebrate the 100th year of St. John Parish with a 9:00 all school Mass, followed by a celebration event.  Please join us for Mass if you are free. This will be a dress uniform day!

No school Friday- the teachers will be at an all day training.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.



September 22nd update

It was another active week of learning here in room 25.  The children showed great persistence and patience during our MAP testing on Monday as we struggled through issues with the Web Site.  I was really proud of how hard they worked- I watched many of them “get stuck” and use their strategies (“I will try another way”, “I will take a deep breath and try again”, “I will reread the question until it makes sense”, “I will work the problem using a strategy I already know”, “I will draw a picture”, etc…) it was lovely to watch and their scores are reflective of this hard work!  We will continue our MAP testing on Monday and Wednesday of this coming week.  They will be testing in the AM so being on time, and well rested will help tee them up for success!

In addition to MAP the children continued to learn about “how they learn” and how to be a “decider rather than a doer”.  With the help of a great curriculum called “braintalk” the children learned about “Myg” (amygdala) and the Fight/Flight reaction, “Buster” who seeks what’s comfy- all those impulsivities they are working to control, “Miss Hipp” (hippocampus) who holds the keys to our memories, and “The Professor” (Pre Frontal Cortex) that is able to look into the past/future and help make good choices.  We are using the term “exercise your PFC” to help them realize they can use the thinking part of their brain to make good choices and be a decider rather than a doer.  They love talking about the brain and having a growth mindset- ask them about it at home.

We also started our Native American unit this week.  We started exploring the story elements of a Legend.  Students were very engaged as we filled our “Think-Puzzle-Explore” chart with sticky notes of ideas.  Today they filled out brainstorming posters, generating ideas for their very own legends which they will write and illustrate next week.

In math we had hands on lessons where children explored place value, using riddles, base ten blocks, and challenge questions.  We will build on these foundational place value skills as we tackle rounding in the next couple of weeks.


MAP testing begins this week

This week we will begin our fall MAP testing.  Our class will be taking our math MAP Tuesday, September 19th, from 8:30-10:00am- our reading MAP Thursday, September 21st, from 8:30-10:00- and our language MAP Wednesday, September 27th, from 8:30-10:00.  I am stressing with the children persistence, GRIT, and a “can-do” attitude.  Encourage your children to try their best and take their time.  If you have any questions about our MAP testing feel free to email me.

September 11

We are off to a wonderful start this week.  In addition to our lessons on the brain, neuroplasticity, and growth mindset the children had a reading lesson where they are comparing/contrasting 2 books by the same author, they are diving into our first math unit on place value, and they completed their first achieve 3000 article.

We kicked the week off with a growth mindset stem activity.  The children were given limited supplies and a set time limit to build a tower.  It was wonderful to watch them try, fail, problem solve, and try again.

The jog a thon and Welcome Back Party are this Friday!  Let’s keep those donations rolling in!! On Friday encourage your children to “have fun, run well, and push themselves towards one extra lap this year”!  Children can dress crazy- show some spirit- and sport their fabulous jog-a-thon T-shirts which they will embellish in class this week.  Feel free to come and see us run, we will be running the inner loop from 10:30-11:00.

As always don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Great Start!

We are off to a great start in room 25.  We spent the first week getting to know the building, our room, each other, and a little bit more about ourselves.  This next week we will begin our Brain Unit- the children will get to learn about neuroplasticity, mindsets, and individual learning styles.  I love starting the year off with this unit, it is a great framework for everything we do.

This week the children will take the levelset for Achieve 3000.  Look for information about achieve and your child’s individual lexile level to come home in the next week.

Jog-a-thon packets went home Friday.  Our class will be setting up classroom incentives this week!  Let’s get those donations rolling in- we REALLY want to take on Señor Pablo in the Silly String Competition this year!

I look forward to seeing all of you for curriculum night this  Thursday  at 7pm, you will learn more about our school vision and what to expect for/from your child this year in 3rd grade.

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!