September 3rd Newsletter

Dear Families,

We are off to a wonderful start in third grade! In just three days, I can tell that this group loves to learn and is full of curiosity and enthusiasm. They enjoy spending time together and they like to think deeply about how things work. Your children enjoy listening to “Stories to Solve” and thinking hard about how to figure out these intriguing logic puzzles, based on folktales from around the world. You may well hear some of these over the dinner table. In addition to being flexible as we all adapt to a new school building and new systems, your children are very strong and enthusiastic runners during our morning exercise time!

I would like to extend a special welcome to our new student, Henry Smith, and his family.

This is a big week ahead! It’s a Discovery Lab week, which means that your children will work with Krissie on a film project in the Disco for at least one hour per day. This kind of intensive Disco week will happen multiple times over the course of the year.

We will also start our third grade Drama program this week, with visiting teacher Hunter Walraff from West Performing Arts. Students will have two rehearsals per week for the next two months, leading up to our River Day Performance on October 25th. Please save the date and plan to join us from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. for a play about our local history.

Our first field trip is coming up on Wednesday, September 25th. I will post a sign-up outside my door, but you can also e-mail me if you are interested in joining us. We will leave at 8:45 a.m. and return by 1:00 p.m. This is a very unique Gateway field trip, in which we bring most of our specialist teachers and they lead activity centers along the San Lorenzo River in Henry Cowell Park. Studying the river is part of our third grade curriculum. Our goal for this field trip is to immerse ourselves in the environment of the river in one particular spot and record what we see in great detail – through art, science, and video activities.

Homework: We are starting homework this week. Folders go home each night and should be returned the next morning. The class earns a smiling sun each day that all folders are returned (as extra incentive). In general, third grade homework should not exceed 30 minutes, including reading time – please let me know if it is taking longer than this. The goal is for your child to do homework independently, but I understand that sometimes parent support is needed. If you are having to give a lot of support, please write me a note in the margin (“Parent help here”). I can check in with your child during quiet reading time and we can do a little extra practice if needed. On the other hand, if your child insists on doing homework independently, this is also very common in third grade.

Part of homework is reading, so once regular homework (math or spelling or Spanish) has been completed, reading independently (or with a parent) should be done for the rest of the homework time. I do not require reading logs, but can give your child one to show me each week if it is hard to get him/her to do daily reading at home. Let me know if this would be helpful.

Back to School Night is on Tuesday, September 10th. Please plan to join us from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. I will give an overview of our third grade program and answer any questions you may have. There is a special presentation for new families from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m.

If you have a quick question or need to share information about your child which is important for me to know before we start the school day, you can stop by the classroom between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. If you’d like to meet for a longer conversation, e-mail me to schedule a time. Thanks! I look forward to working with all of you this year.

Have a great week —