March 18th News

Calendar items:

Monday, March 19th: Field trip to St. James Cathedral Dress Uniform

Tuesday, March 20th: 10am Hansel and Gretel Opera

Wednesday, March 21: 9:30am Reconciliation

Thursday, March 22: Dress Uniform and Achieve pizza party during lunch

In addition to all of the special activities this week, we will continue to master fractions, explore the history of the Iditarod, and build our reading skills through book club and achieve. Due to the field trip on Monday and Reconciliation on Wednesday we will not have Writer’s Workshop this week.

This past week the children practiced the math daily spiral review homework sheet in class.  This week I will be sending the math sheet home for daily homework.  There are 8 problems a day, most of them review skills.  I encouraged the children to spend about 16 minutes each day on this sheet.  We will review the homework each morning in class, so if your child is struggling with a particular skill, just have them try their best but remind them we will review it in class so they don’t need to feel anxious or worried about not remembering how to do something.  Let me know how this new math homework goes.  This spiral math and grammar review homework is new for us and I would love to get some feedback to help me evaluate if it is successful.

March 10-15 News

Your children did such a wonderful job leading the Stations of the Cross yesterday afternoon.  They were confident, reverent, and set the tone for a beautiful liturgy.  I was very proud of them.

Calendar Items:

Monda, -March 12- Funeral ****hot dog lunch will be in the classroom**** Writer’s Workshop 10:40-11:20, let me know if you want to come and help the children edit/revise their current stories.

  • Tuesday, March 13 – French Toast, originally scheduled for Wednesday, will be served in Egan Hall (lunchroom).
  • Wednesday, March 14 – Beef Tacos, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will be served in classrooms due to a funeral reception requiring Egan Hall and Kitchen.  *** Writer’s Workshop 10:40-11:20

Thursday, March 15- 12:00 dismissal, Report Cards sent home

Friday, March 16- No School, teacher in-service day

Monday, March 19, Field Trip to St. James Cathedral (thank you to all of you who offered to drive and for the quick turn around on the field trip forms, I am really looking forward to this meaningful experience with the class!


We wrapped up our adaptation projects this past week.  They are up in the 2nd-floor hallway, if you get a chance, stop by and take a look.  The children expressed their knowledge of climates, traits, and adaptations in very creative ways.  Next up, fossils.

We also wrapped up our multiplication/division unit. The children will continue to master multiplication facts for the remainder of the year but we will start our next unit on fractions on Monday.

How are you liking the new grammar homework?  As we review it each morning, to check for mastery, I am already noticing an increased awareness of key grammar concepts.  This week I will be introducing a similar math spiral review sheet.  Once the children become comfortable with it, I will alternate between the daily spiral grammar and the daily spiral math homework every week.  4th grade also uses this spiral review for homework- practicing it now will not only help your children review key skills, it will prepare them for the type of homework they can expect next year.  It’s a win/win.

We started our Iditarod reading unit this last week.  This week we will read a non-fiction book together as a class and then the children will choose a particular aspect of the Iditarod to research further.

Writer’s workshop is back underway this week.  The children completed their first stories; “How I Got Stuck in a Snowglobe”, this last week and are now drafting free choice stories.  I love this new writing curriculum.  It will be wonderful to see the children’s stories grow and develop over the next few months.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend and feel free to email me with any questions or concerns, I love hearing from you.



March 4th update

We have had a couple of very busy and productive weeks.

In science, the children are completing their climate/adaptation projects.  Each child selected a particular climate region and created a plant/animal that could uniquely survive in that region.  The children utilized what they learned from their research about specific climate regions, adaptations, traits, and learned behaviors and integrated this into their projects.  They are very informative and creative.  Look for them to be up on the bulletin board in the hallway later this week.

We had our first “official” week of writer’s workshop and it was a huge success.  The children are learning the writing process from pre-writing all the way to publishing final drafts.  We had wonderful parents on hand to help the children learn to edit and revise their work, add wonderful words to their writing, and organize their thoughts.  I am really excited to watch their written expression develop this year.

We will be wrapping up our multiplication/division unit this week and will move into fractions starting next week. We will continue to work on multiplication fact fluency throughout the remainder of the year- it takes time to master those facts and move them from short-term memory into automatic recall.  Please continue to help your children master multiplication facts- each week they will have a number to work on in their yellow home-work folder- I recommend 10-20 minutes of practice each day.

The students constructed their Stations of the Cross this past week.  They are beautiful.  On Friday, March 9th, at 2:30 our class will be leading the Stations of the Cross for the school.  The children wrote prayers and reflections to guide us through this beautiful liturgy.  They will be reading the Stations and sharing their art pieces.  Please join us if you can, it is a wonderful service.

This week is the start of the Iditarod sled dog race.  The children will be reading non-fiction texts about the history of the race and learn about the adaptations and traits sled dogs have to make them uniquely suited to run these races.

The new Achieve competition is underway.  We are neck and neck with a couple of classes.  Encourage your child to swap out a night of reading for an Achieve article.



THURSDAY- March 8th- 1:00 pm Musical Dress Rehearsal 

Friday- March 9th -2:30 pm Mansfield’s class leads Stations of the Cross

February 11th News

We have a very busy week ahead of us, here is what you need to know:

Tuesday 2/13: Valentine’s Day celebration and card exchange.  Because Ash Wednesday falls on the 14th, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 13th.  Cards are optional, but if your child chooses to bring cards, please have him/her bring one for every child in the class.

Tuesday 2/13: 1:00pm “Power of One” anti- bullying assembly.

Wednesday 2/14: Ash Wednesday Mass 9:00.  Dress Uniform!

Thursday 2/15: 9:30-1:00 Field Trip to Seattle Children’s Theater.  Please pack a lunch, we will eat before returning to school.  Also children should wear their St. John Sweatshirt.

Thursday 2/15: 1:30 pm- All School Spelling Bee- 

Friday 2/16-Tuesday 2/20: Mid- Winter Break!

This last week the children learned about 5 distinct climate regions; polar, mediterranean, temperate, desert, and tropical forest.  They read non-fiction texts, watched some Planet Earth videos, and interacted with the Kids National Geographic web site (a wonderful resource for kids by the way).

This next week the children will learn more about plant and animal adaptations/traits.  They will then take what they learn and complete an adaptation project.  They get to create a brand new plant or animal, pick a specific climate region where their plant/animal lives, and explain what adaptations their plant/animal have to survive in it’s given climate.  It is a fun, creative way to synthesize the weather/climate/adaptation science standards- I can’t wait to see what this creative group of scientists come up with.

We are continuing to work on mulitplication and division.  In class the children are using strategies and tools to solve word problems involving mulitplication and division.  We are also practicing math facts together, playing games, quizzing eachother, using wrap-ups, etc.  Every Monday the children check-in with me individually to see if they have mastered a new set of multiplication facts.  Each time they master a fact, they add a star to our class star chart.  Once we reach 25 stars on the chart the children will earn an extra recess ( a huge incentive for this class).  Every Monday, in the homework folder, your child will have a card listing the fact he/she should work on for the week.  Let me know if you need ideas/tools to help him/her memorize that fact.

Next week we will start one of my favorite art/religion projects of the year.  The children will study 3 different artists’ interpretations of the Stations of the Cross.  From there, the children get to design our own Stations of the Cross.  In the next week or so I will let you know some ways you can volunteer to help with this special project.



Catholic Schools Week

It is time for Catholic Schools Week!  Here is what you need to know.

Sunday, January 28th, 10:30 all school mass.  Students are to wear DRESS UNIFORM or Cultural Dress.  The Mass is followed by the cultural fair, 12:00-1:00 and the open house, 12:00-1:30.  Your children are very excited to show you all the things they have been learning, I hope to see you Sunday.

Monday, January 29th- Free Dress, bring a can of food for St. Vincent dePaul

Tuesday, January 30th- Crazy Sock Day!

Wednesday, January 31- Free Sweatshirt Day

Thursday, February 1, Dress like a teacher day, bring one flower for your teacher

Friday, February 2nd, Purple and Gold day!! Free Lunch for all students!  Go crazy and show your school spirit!!

January 15th News

Happy New Year!  I hope you are enjoying this sunny 3 day weekend and finding ways to honor the important legacy of  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  In class the children are learning about Martin Luther King Jr and his work to end discrimination and segregation.  They are reading non-fiction texts about the civil- rights movement, learning new vocabulary words, completing reading reflections, and will have a chance this week to do some writing and poetry about equality and justice for all.  We are working on an art/religion project which will be on display for Catholic Schools Week.  The children have been discussing what it means to be “the light of the world” and how they can each use their hands and hearts to have an impact on their community- just like Martin Luther King Jr, and countless others, did during the civil rights movement.  Here is a picture of the art piece they will be completing later this week-


In reading the children are continuing to participate in book clubs.  Additionally we took our “level set” assessment for Achieve 3000.  Look for these reports, with your child’s updated lexile reading level, to come home with our 2nd Trimester progress reports in February.  I am so pleased with the growth I am seeing in reading this year.  We got to celebrate this progress at our Achieve party.  The children participated in a great hour of readers theater.  They had me in stitches as they read/performed Elephant and Piggie books.  It was a great celebration!

We have started our new writing unit this month.  The children are learning how to take good paraprahs and make them exceptional.  This last week we learned how to take a topic sentence and turn it into a “rockin’ beginning”.  We also learned about “relevant details” and how to determine if a detail is important enough to include in our writing.  This next week we will work on those transition words that help keep our writing interesting and clear.  We will also learn about “clinching conclusions”.   After our lessons the children will put these skills into action with some winter writing prompts.  This group of children really likes to write and I am excited to give them some tools to help them better organize and craft their writing.

This last week in math the children learned all about the properties of multiplication- identity property, zero property, associative property, commutative property, and distributive property.  This week we will continue to practice these properties and next week we will learn how those same properties apply to division.  Each Monday the children will “check-in” to see which multiplication facts they need to work on memorizing.  We will send that fact home on Monday in your child’s homework folder and then the math homework for the week will be to creatively practice that fact for 20 minutes a night.  The children are sharing creative memorization tools with eachother each day.  Multiplication fact fluency will really help your child succeed in 4th grade math.  The key to learning those facts is practice, practice, practice.  I have sent home a list of creative ways to practice, but if you need additional ideas or tools for helping your child learn these facts, feel free to email me!

Science is all about weather!  A special thank you to the parents who came in this last week and helped the children make anemometers and rain gauges.  The children also got to go on an interactive web-site- where they learned about severe weather and steps to take to protect a home from weather related disasters.  This week the children will continue to research weather related disasters and will begin their engineering projects.  The children will choose a weather related disaster and then design a home that could survive that disaster.  The project combines geograhy, weather, research, and engineering.  These projects, along with the children’s weather tools and weather graphs,  will be on display during the open house for Catholic Schools Week.

Catholic Schools week kicks off Sunday, January 28th.  Look for specific details in the next couple of weeks.  **If you are interested in speaking to our class about your vocation let me know- we would love to have you anytime during Catholic Schools Week.***

December 15th News

Merry Christmas!  Growth Mindset was alive and well in room 25 this week, from magnet projects, to achieve 3000,  to the playground, our third graders are trying new things, successfully failing, and trying again!  It is wonderful.

The children are so excited to show off their magnet projects on Wednesday, December 20th, at our 9:00 AM open house.  I can’t wait for you to see how much they learned, how hard they worked, and how incredible the projects turned out.

This last month the children have been participating in a school wide Achieve 3000 competition.  The class with the most points (awarded based on 75%/88%/100% scores) would win a gift card for a class party.  Our class worked so hard, they read and re-read articles, they helped eachother with successful test taking strategies, they eliminated answers and referred back to the article.  One after another the children were showing me scores of 75% or better.  I saw amazing growth in stamina, and even better, amazing growth in Lexile levels!  Thanks to their hard work, and your support at home, our class won the competition and will be having a pizza party after the New Year!  Keep it up.

My favorite example of Growth Mindset came on the playground today.  Children from both third grade classrooms were working collaboratively to construct a hula-hoop structure.  I heard several “this will never work!”  “Aah it’s falling” but then a child said, “Guys, we got this.  We just need to work together and keep trying!  Come on- we can do it!”  And they did-


I look forward to celebrating the Advent season with you next week at the Christmas Concert.  Tuesday, December 19th, 7pm.  Please drop children off to our classroom at 6:45 and have them leave their coats with you.

I also hope to see many of you at our Magnetic Open House Wednesday, December 20th, 9-10am.  Come enjoy cookies, coffee, and some fabulous magnet projects.

Merry Christmas- thanks for all you do!

December 7th News

***Reminder- Dress Uniform for Mass tomorrow***

Christmas is popping up all over room 25!  The children made “equal group” multiplication trees.

The children are actively participating in Advent.  We have advent jars instead of candles, this week the children are writing things they can “hope for” and are putting them in the HOPE jar.  We are also working on being Empowered Disciples this Advent season.  We have an Empowered Disciple tree and the children are filling out ornaments when they catch someone being an Empowered Disciple.  It’s going to fill up fast!

Today the children participated in the “Hour of Code” with their buddies.

They had a great time and I loved seeing their persistence and problem solving skills.

Our magnet projects are underway.  We will complete these projects next week and I will be sending you a date for our Engineering Open House very soon.

Thank you for your donations to Toys For Tots, Mrs. Castillo and I will deliver the toys on Monday afternoon.

December 3rd

Welcome to the Advent Season, the season of preperation and anticipation. Every Monday we will start our day off with a short candle lighting service in the church.  I will pick the children up from the playground right at 8:20 and we will move directly into the church for prayer, singing, and the lighting of the advent candles. It is a beautiful way to start the week.

Last week we kicked off multiplication.  The children are practicing equal groups, arrays, skip counting, and jumping on a number line.  All of these skills help reinforce the number sense needed to master mulitplication and division concepts.  For homework this week the children will have a packet of the “2’s” multiplication facts and will practice each fact using the above strategies.  This visual approach to multiplication facts is very effective.  In the coming weeks I will be sending home creative ways to practice multiplication facts.  The children will be encouraged to find creative strategies that work for them and then practice, practice, practice.

Our science unit on magnets is underway.  On Friday the children came up with a product they are going to design and build using magnetic property.  We will be going over the designs and supply lists on Monday and will begin constructing our products later this week.  The children can, with your permission, bring in supplies from home- but they are to be things you already have!  Please don’t feel like you need to purchase anything for this project, we have lots of supplies and working within constraints is part of the standard.  Once I have an idea how long the construction will take I will be sending out an “open house” invitation for you to stop by the classroom and see the working projects.  You will be amazed what the children are able to constuct with some simple supplies, a couple of magnets, and a lot of imagination.

We have one week left in our Achieve 3000 competition.  Our class continues to be in the lead.  The children have been sharing strategies for how to achieve those 75% or higher scores.  They are reminding eachother to “slow down”, “re-read the article”, “eliminate answers and then refer back to the article”.  I am really pleased with the growth in Lexile levels I am seeing and the children are learning valuable reading comprehension skills.  Thank you for encouraging these strategies at home as well.

The children learned about artist Paul Klee and created “array cities” modeled after Klee’s “Castle and the Sun” painting.


Friday December 8th- 9:00 Mass, DRESS UNIFORM

Tuesday December 19th- 7pm Christmas Concert

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  I am grateful for all of you support and for each of your wonderful children who make me smile everyday.  May God bless you all this holiday.