June 5th, 2017

Dear Parents,

Happy June and welcome to these last few fun, busy and crazy weeks of school!

Smarter Balanced Testing

We. are. done.  Hooray! The kids did such a great job and I am so proud of their hard works and perseverance. This year, scores will be available  before the school year ends. and sent home in progress reports.


You’ll see a pink packet at home today that describes an end of the year reading project. Please look it over with your child and help them decide on a book and character. I’ll send an email with the presentation schedule soon.

This project is in place of reading response homework. Nightly reading should still continue.

*A page of math homework went home today-due tomorrow.

*Mad Minutes packets will be sent home tomorrow.

Picnic Lunch

P is for picnic lunch tomorrow! We’ll eat outside on the grass. Bring a small blanket, if you wish.

We will have an extra PE on Thursday, so please remember PE shoes on this day.

That’s it for now! Enjoy the sunshine this afternoon:)

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May 16th, 2017

Dear Parents,

ABC Countdown

I sent home a copy of our ABC countdown to the the last day of school yesterday. I’ve included another copy here for your reference. I feel strongly about keeping a routine until the last days of school, but there’s no harm in adding in a little bit of fun!


Homework this week

We are taking a break from reading workshop this week, so there will be no reading response homework. I did send home a green math packet which is practice for the math performance task. Mad Minutes also went home. Both math packets are due on Friday.

Nightly reading should still happen:)

Testing Update

We are continuing with the ELA performance task this week. We may start the Math CAT test later in the week, or we might wait until next week. It depends how many kids complete the performance task. The kids continue to impress me with the care and focus they are giving these tests.

Mystery reading unit-begins next week

I’m excited to begin a new reading unit next week-Mysteries! Tomorrow at library, I will be asking AT LEAST one of the books your child checks out to be a mystery. They will also need at least 2 mystery books at home (more if they read quickly) to read as we work our way through this unit. I’ve attached a nice list of recommended mysteries  here.


Have a great week!

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May 9th, 2017

Good Morning!

Below is an update from Ms. Thomas. Please note we are looking for 2-3 volunteers to help mold salt dough maps on Thursday afternoon at 12:20.  A link to the recipe is below.

Salt Dough Recipe

Testing is going very well and your children are being careful, thoughtful test takers.

Today we started the ELA performance task which will take us the remainder of the week to finish. On Monday, we will be taking the Math CAT practice test at 8:15am. Please let me know if your child will not be here  on Monday morning so we can find an alternate time for them to take the practice test.  Thank you:)

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope all of you are enjoying this beautiful weather that we are having today. I wanted to let you know what is happening this week.

For Reading homework, I have asked the students to compare and contrast the books that they have read with their book club. There are 4 questions, and your child only needs to answer 3 of them. There are 2 questions about relating to the character and the character’s problems. There is another question about the end of the book. That one needs to be done on Thursday night because that is when everyone is finishing their books. The other question is about the similarities and differences, which we practiced before in class. Also, please be sure your child is reading for 25 minutes every night.

On Thursday May 11th, we will be making topographic maps of Oregon out of salt dough. I sent home the recipe  yesterday. Please make sure to bring it on Thursday morning. We will be molding the maps at 12:20pm and we would like 2-3 more parent volunteers.  If you could make an extra batch, this would ensure all students have enough dough to mold their maps. Please email me at thomase@wlwv.k12.or.us if you would like to volunteer.

We are starting a new writing unit today. This one is about opinion speeches. Students will be writing their own opinion speeches. They will be deciding this week what problem and solution they want to write about, and then speak about. I will give you more details when we will be sharing our final speeches, which will not be for a few weeks.

It has been really fun teaching your children. I hope they have enjoyed my teaching as well. I have 2 more weeks of solo teaching, and then Pilar and I will team teaching for the remainder of the year.

I hope you have a wonderful week. Please don’t hesitate to contact Pilar or myself with any questions that you might have.


Elisa Thomas

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May 1st 2017-Testing Information

Dear Parents,

I hope you enjoyed a nice weekend! We begin our state testing tomorrow. Please read the attachment below for some important testing information.

sbac-schedule-letter-to-parents (2)

Below is an update from Mrs. Thomas:)

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you got to enjoy some of the wonderful sun we had this weekend.

I wanted to let you know what is happening for reading this week. The students are staying in their book clubs for this week and next week. They are going to choose a new book with their book club on Monday. Some groups already have and others will on Monday. For in class assignments, students will be comparing their last book and this new book. The book clubs should be reading 2-4 chapters a night. There will not be a lot of time during the day to be reading the books, so it is best if your child can read the required pages at home. I will send home a calendar for your child to keep at home and I will have a copy at school for them to look at as well.

We are continuing our study of Oregon Geography as well. We are continuing our studies of the 6 regions.

Thank you for allowing me to teach your child these last few weeks. It has been fun and helpful in my career. I hope your child is enjoying this time as well.

Elisa Thomas

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April 18th 2017

Here is an update from Ms. Thomas:)


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I wanted to let you know of some things that are happening this week.

Homework is different this week. Mrs. Tragesser and I sent home a packet that had a pink sheet, a green sheet, and 2 white sheets. This packet is State testing preparation. Your child needs to read both the pink and the green sheet to answer the questions on the white sheet. This homework is due on Friday,

The math facts packet has been sent home as well. It would be great if your child could practice these facts nightly if possible.

Nightly reading homework will look a little different this week. We began a new unit, Character Studies last week. I just placed your child into reading groups, based on their reading level. Your child started reading their book club book today. They outlined as a group how many chapters their group should read to have completed reading the book by Friday April 28th. It is very important that they cannot read ahead because they will be discussing their books on Wednesdays and Fridays. If they read ahead, then they will not be able to participate in the discussion. This reading should be done as homework. I will send home the calendar tomorrow that your child and their book club made to show what chapters they need to be reading nightly. I encouraged them to take notes and keep their notes in their traveling folder. I also reminded them that I am borrowing these books from the library, so they need to treat these books with care. They need to bring them back to school the next day. This is very important for them to participate in their book club discussions. I might not have an extra copy for them to borrow at school.

Tomorrow is the Willamette Market. The items will be 5 dollars and under. Your child is encouraged to bring small bills and some coins if they would like to purchase items:) It should be fun!

Let me know if you have any questions.


Elisa Thomas

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April 12th, 2017

April 12th, 2017

It’s a little strange to be out of the classroom so much this week! I have popped in to do a little test prep and help with writing, but mostly have tried to make myself scare as recommended by Lewis and Clark. This gives Elisa the chance to develop her autonomy and control as a teacher without me in the classroom. From my brief “peeks” into the room, she is doing an amazing job! Teaching to diverse learning needs and styles is a real strength for her.  Next week, I will also be mostly out of the classroom. The remaining 4 weeks of Elisa’s solo teaching, I will have a “limited” presence in the classroom, in a support role. Below you’ll find a newsletter written by Elisa:) Enjoy!

LAST Field Trip!

Tomorrow your child will be bringing home a field trip permission form and a  DOUBLE-SIDED waiver for a fun and educational trip! All third grade classes will be taking a journey down the Willamette River on the Coast Guard certified Willamette Jetboats! We will have the opportunity to see historic sites and learn how the Willamette River has played a key role in Portland’s past and present!

The cost of the trip is $10 for students and $16 for chaperones. Please email me as soon as possible if you are interested in chaperoning this trip! I will take chaperones on a first come, first serve basis! If you need financial assistance, please let me know. I don’t want the chaperone fee to be cost prohibitive for any families.  All money is due by Friday, May 5!

June 16th 8:30-12:10 is the field trip.  Lunch at Willamette Park upon return (weather dependent). 

Please visit the link for more information about the trip! We will take the 1 hour tour.


All parents need to fill out the double-sided liability waiver attached to the permission form. Students must also sign the forms.

Newsletter from Ms. Thomas

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Today was my third day of solo teaching and it went well today. The other days this week went well also. Thank you for having such kind, flexible, and wonderful children. I wanted to let you know of a few things that we are learning about this week.


I sent home a pink homework sheet on Monday explaining the reading homework for the week. This will require your child to be reading a book, at their reading level, with a strong main character that they can write about. This means that they need to bring home a book to keep at home, or bring the book to and from home. However, if your child forgets his/her book at home he/she will need to start another book at school to practice the lesson of the day. I have told this to the students during the reading lesson today.

Also, please remember that your child needs to be reading for 25 minutes every day to keep up their good reading skills.

We have also started an Oregon Geography unit on Monday. If you have time, it would be very beneficial for your child if you talk to your child about your experiences with Oregon. Some items you could talk about are: Who was the first member of your family to move to Oregon? What brought them to Oregon? Have you lived in other parts of Oregon than West Linn? Which parts? What are some of your favorite places and activities in Oregon? What do you think is special about living in Oregon? What makes it different from other states?

For writing, we are finishing up our fairy tale unit. Then we will start our persuasive speeches unit. This will be a fun unit that will end in the students presenting their speeches. I will update you on the date of those speeches if you would like to join us as the students present them.

Remember to email me with any questions or concerns. I would be happy to answer them.


Elisa Thomas

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April 3rd, 2017

Dear Parents,

Welcome back! I hope you all had spring breaks filled with fun, relaxation and maybe a little Vitamin D! I sure enjoyed seeing your kids this morning and hearing stories of their vacation adventures. Spring is a busy time here at Willamette and even busier in 3rd grade, due to state testing in May.

State Testing

We will be testing from May 1st-May 19th for about 1 hour per day. Students are tested on the computer exclusively (scratch paper will be provided.) Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test contains 2 parts-reading and math. These tests have two sections-the Computer Adaptive test (CAT) and the Performance Task (PT.)

Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT)


The assessment consists of 40-45 text-based questions.  Students will spend 40-60 minutes reading and answering a few questions each day.  Breaks will be provided as needed.


The assessment consists of short answer questions from all different math strands. These questions may include multiple choice, equation response, multi select, drag and move to complete a table or grid and use a line tool.


Performance Task (PT)

Reading Students read two short nonfiction articles and take notes.  Then, using information from the text, they organize and write either a narrative, opinion essay or informational essay (depending  on which prompt they receive). They will work for 30-40 minutes per day, with breaks.

Math Students are given a real life story problem and asked to answer multiple questions all related to the same situation.

We started going over the training test in class today which begins by teaching students about the different types of problems they will encounter on the test. SBAC prep will become a regular part of our week in preparation for the tests in May.

For your reference, you can follow the link below to vieew the practice and  training tests.

SBAC practice tests


Field Trip-this Wednesday

We are kicking off our annual food drive with a visit to the Oregon Food Bank. We will leave school about 8:40am and return around noon. We will have lunch in the classroom, so please pack a home lunch for your child on this day.  If you would like a school sack lunch, please let me know by tomorrow morning at the latest .

Important information from the Oregon Food Bank: For safety reasons, you WILL BE TURNED AWAY for improper footwear and clothing. Shoes must have closed toes and heels (no sandals, clogs, mules or high heels). Shirts must have sleeves (NO TANK TOPS). Temperatures in the volunteer areas can vary. Layers are recommended.

I will send a separate email to chaperones this afternoon.


If you missed conferences before Spring Break, I am offering a make up conference time this Wednesday, from 2:20-3:30, drop-in, open house format. Depending on how many families come, I may not have time to meet with each family individually, but I will be sure to quickly connect with you while you are here.


Reading homework looks a little different this week as it is SBAC practice. A pink article is glued into homework notebooks. A white packet also went home with practice questions related to the article. The packet is due on Friday and we will correct it together in class.

Math facts practice also went home. I’ve moved all students up to multiplication as we need to master these facts by the end of the year. Fluency with addition and subtraction facts should still be attained if your child is not yet proficient in these.

Food Magazines

If you have any magazine with photos of food (Cooking light, Real Simple etc. ) please send them my way. We need them for an art project.


Thank you!


Have a great week!


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March 14th, 2017

Hi Parents!
Field Trip 
We will leave school at 8:45am tomorrow for the Winningstad Theater in Portland. Chaperones are below. Chaperones, please arrive at 8:30am for your group assignments.  We will be back at school around noon and have lunch at school. Children should bring a snack to be eaten on the bus.  A note that there is “before the play”  homework that will need to be completed tonight if your child did not get to it yesterday.
Kristin Daniels (Kali)
Jennifer Ostergard (Kellen)
Mary Coldea (Audrey)
Laura Secchi (Karina)
Laura Bergstrom (Rebecca)
Jen Dennis (Scout)
Last week’s lesson on  forces was about the force of magnetism. Your child got to spend time observing and discovering some of the basic properties of magnets!

One fun thing you can do together with your child is to explore this printable chart featuring wonderful household uses for magnets (see link below). This reinforces this week’s learning and also models how engineers or inventors think, something we’re doing more frequently in science class.

Weird and Wonderful Uses for Magnets

These next two weeks we will be learning about hunger and preparing for our school food drive (3rd grade is in charge.)
We’ll also be getting ready for conferences. (Please sign up if you have not already!)
Math Facts
Practice packets went home on Monday and we will have our test (2 minutes) on Friday as usual.
Have a great week!
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March, 6th 2017:Math Facts

Hi Parents,

Your child probably told you about the math facts homework they brought home today. Here is a little background. Fluency (speed and recall) with math facts is an important part of 3rd grade math.  By the end of 3rd grade, fluency within products up to 100 is expected. This month, we’ll be focusing on committing our math facts to memory. If your child does not know a fact “in a snap” encourage them to use a strategy to figure it out. We are moving away from counting on our fingers. For example: If 16-7 doesn’t come automatically, they could use a known fact. (I  know 16-6 is 10, so 16-7 is one more than that. So, it’s 9.) Your child was sent home with 4 sheets of math facts for homework (levels can vary from child to child), one for each night this week.  This packet is due on Friday, along with their  reading response. On Friday,  they will be tested on their math facts. They will get 2 minutes to work and 27/30 correct is needed to advance to the next level.

Please let me know if you have questions!

More info to come later this week about our upcoming field trip and conference sign ups!



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February 23rd, 2017

Hi Parents,


Several children came home with their informational books in binders. They have a little bit of finish up to do at home tonight. They all know what to do. Please send them to school with their binders in the morning. With reading responses and math homework also due, you might be feeling pressed for time tonight. The informational books are the priority. If reading responses need to come in on Monday this week, that’s okay. Just remember to send in the homework notebook tomorrow so we can do Friday journals.


We continued our study of forces this week, this time by considering some of the forces involved in designing a bridge (as an activity your child designed and tested their own bridge made of paper).

One fun thing you can do to support this week’s learning is sit down together with your child and enjoy browsing through some of the world’s most intriguing and extraordinary bridges (see link). Based on what they learned in class, your child might point out to you where the bridge’s weight is supported.

Crazy Bridges!

Thank you!

We had fun previewing the Science Fair this afternoon. Lots of neat projects!



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