May 2015 Newsletter

Dear Families and Friends,

Happy Spring! We are headed into the final stretch of the school year and everyone is getting excited for the beginning of our ABC countdown when we count down the remaining days with the letters of the alphabet. I will note on the homework packets what is happening each day if it is something students need to prepare for at home. If nothing is written then that day is a surprise.  Wednesday is the first day of the countdown, A Day, and it will be stuffed Animal day.  Students are welcome to bring in a favorite stuffy to keep them company during the day.  These special friends should be of a reasonable size so they will not take up too much desk space or be distracting to others.

Wednesday is also our third annual Willamette Market brought to us by the Grade 4/5 Team. Students have created items to sell to the Willamette community. The proceeds of which will help fund their overnight trip and  be given to a chosen charity.  Our class will be visiting the Market from 9:35-10:00. You are welcome to come visit and shop at the Market with your child. It will be at the under cover area in the playground. Items range in price from  .25 to $5.00.  If you send money in with your child, please put it in a sealed envelope with their name on it.

We are completing our State English/Language Arts test this week.  Next week begins the Math portion of the test.  Students are doing a great job of staying focused and trying their best. You should be proud of their efforts!

As the year winds down thoughts begin to turn to your child’s class placement for next year.  A great deal of time goes into placement and configuring balanced classrooms.  If you have any preferences about your child’s placement, meaning a straight fourth grade or a blended 4/5 classroom or if there are particular students you would like your child placed with or separated from, please share that information with an email to me or to Dr. Pryor so your preferences can be taken into account as class lists are formed. Dr. Pryor has asked that you send your email by Friday, May 8th.

Our class has begun reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8 in the classroom. As we read we are noticing our thinking and noting those thoughts on sticky notes to share with the class during group discussions. There is a reading response that needs to be completed on the blog. Each evening students will have some reading to do at home. Many are preparing a page to read aloud to class the next day. You can help support their work by reading with them, having them read aloud to you and stopping during the reading to talk about their thoughts.  This will help them be prepared for class each day.

Our class has been asked to play a marimba song as part of the Volunteer Appreciation Assembly on Friday, May 15 at 1:00.  They have been working hard on their song and it is coming together wonderfully.  You are all invited to the assembly in honor of our wonderful classroom and school volunteers, and to watch your children perform.

Enjoy this beautiful weather!





April 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to Springtime!

Many thanks to all of our families for participating in the student-led conferences. It was a great chance to see your child taking ownership of their learning to diiscuss their areas of strength and also those areas where they need to focus their attentions.  They had all done some terrific reflection and chose pieces to share that illustrated the growth they are making. Now we are back to school feeling refreshed from break and ready to take on the next challenges and adventures headed our way this month.

Sadly we said good-bye to our friend Lilly who moved before break, but our hearts are buoyed with the arrival of our new friend, Gregory. We wish Lilly well in her new school and welcome Gregory and his family to Willamette!

SOCIAL STUDIES: We are finishing our study of the Oregon regions and will use this information about our state’s diverse  landforms, climates, and natural resources to frame our study of Oregon’s indigenous people.  The question, “How does WHERE  you live affect HOW you live?” will serve as our guide in looking at the people who populated the coast and basin regions, specifically. You can expect to see more research, non-fiction reading and writing as well as analysis of the information they discover. We will also be taking a look at artifacts from the Oregon Historical Society evidencing the diverse lifestyles of these cultural groups.

WRITING: In conjunction with our social studies unit, students will be reading and writing their own Native American myth stories. In art they will create masks to accompany their myth and we will present our stories during a Tellebration later this spring.  You don’t want to miss that!

READING: We will begin a class book study of Ramona Quimby Age 8 in preparation  for our field trip to see the stage production in May. Beverly Cleary is a much loved local author who has written the Ramona series of books that often serve as hooks for many readers. We will be taking a look at elements of narrative writing and using the book to practice more of our reading strategies.

MATH: We continue with our multiplication and division unit of study now. A great way to support your child’s learning is to help them with multiplication facts.  It makes their work with larger numbers so much more seamless when they know their basic facts with fluency. We will also begin working with fractions this month as well.

STATE TESTING: Our window of testing begins on April 20th and we will start with the Reading test.  This year we begin using a new test that is a much different format from year’s past.  The test is still done on-line, but the questions go beyond the usual “fill in the bubble” format.  The students will be answering Selected Response questions (multiple choice), but even these are not as straight forward as in the past. Some questions have more than one answer.  They will also answer Constructed Response questions (short answers) where they need to formulate their own answers and type them in the test form. Another type of question is Technology Enhanced. These questions allow students to use computer tools to answer questions. These might be creating a graph, drawing geometric shapes, or filling in a graphic organizer. And finally, there is a Performance Task. With this type of question students perform a skill or create a product, like a writing piece or solve an in depth math problem.  Here is a link for you to look at the student practice test site to help give you an idea of what the test will look like for your child. You simply log in as a GUEST and then select Grade 3.  I highly recommend you and your child spend some time on this site to become more familiar with the tools and the format.   The test will take a considerable amount of time, but we will break up the test experience into smaller daily sessions, perhaps 1/2 hour to 40 minutes. Test results won’t be available from the state until the fall.  Our testing window is happening in the afternoons, so a great way to support your child is to be sure they are having a good lunch.  Maybe put an encouraging note in their lunchbags. Also, talking about the testing experience and helping them to put the test into perspective would be helpful as well. Encouraging students to do their best and show all that they know.

CANNED FOOD DRIVE: The school’s annual food drive is under way and our class has had  30  items turned in so far. Thanks for your contributions.   We are working toward a class goal of 125 items and a school goal of 3,000 items.

The thermometer in the main hallway shows our school’s progress! 

We hope you will consider donating food or personal items to help us reach our ultimate goal of helping out local and statewide hungry families.

The food banks are in need of canned fruit, 100% fruit juice, soups/chili with protein, breakfast cereals, peanut butter and canned meats. They are also in need of items to make meals like pasta, vegetables, beans, and cooking oil. We thank you for your generosity!

Any class who brings these Gold Star Items on these days will have their names read during morning announcements.

Tuesday: Canned Fruit and 100% Juice

Wednesday: Breakfast items (cereal, pancake/waffle mix, syrup, oatmeal etc…)

Thursday: Peanut Butter

Friday: Personal Items (bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, deodorant)

As part of this community service project, our class volunteered at our local food pantry

Hard at work!

as well as the Oregon Food Bank.   Many thanks to our volunteers who accompanied us on our trips.  The students felt great about volunteering and helping out so many families. We bagged over 9,000 pounds of onions and potatoes to be distributed to hungry families across Oregon.  Kids are powerful!

Once we have collected all of the food next week, we will be delivering a  portion to our local food pantry. We are in need of many wagons to load with donated items and carry to the West Linn Food Pantry.  This is a wonderful tradition for our class and it’s quite a sight to see our own little wagon train moving through the Willamette neighborhood. We are in need of wagons and volunteers for this trip that will be happening the week of April 13. Specific dates and times will be coming soon! Please let me know if you have a wagon or small garden cart we could use for our food delivery.



RHYTHMS PROGRAM: It’s time for our annual Rhythms Program where students, and maybe even a few teachers, will show you their ability to move to the  music.  This fun Willamette tradition is happening on April 17. To accommodate the large numbers of family members there will be two shows, 10:00 and 1:00. The same show is performed at each time and lasts for approximately an hour.  Our class has been working hard on their routine and are excited to perform for you.  Their costumes consist of  yellow, orange, pink or bright green top, black bottoms and crazy hair.  Hope you can join us for the fun performance!


Monday, April 6: No school for students. Professional development day for teachers

Friday, April 17: Rhythms Program: A-M Familes 10:00, N-Z Families 1:00

Wednesday, April 29: Early Dismissal 12:10 Lunch is served at school. Buses run on regular routes.

Thank you so much for all of your help and support!



March Newsletter 2015

Dear Families and Friends,

You can tell it’s spring because of daffodils, mild weather and third graders who are starting to look and sound like fourth graders! It’s an amazing transition that happens in this third grade year.  I’m so looking forward to student-led conferences and joining you to celebrate your child and the growth they’ve made, and set our sights on next steps.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please go to the school website and click on PASS or call the office and they can help you make  a conference appointment. These are student-led conferences, so your child will be facilitating the time.  The first twenty minutes will be in the classroom where I will join you and the final ten (or more if you’d like) will be in the hallway where you will have time together to continue to share and talk

 MATH: We are beginning a new unit of study this month with Multiplication and Division.  People often ask if it’s okay to teach your child to multiply “the way I learned” and the answer is absolutely yes.   We will look at multiplication as repeated addition, adding groups, area, and arrays, to develop an understanding of the concept of multiplication. Then we will investigate several methods to multiply including traditional algorithms. A great way to support your child is to practice multiplication facts. Knowing your facts fluently gives kids a big jump in division and our next unit, fractions. On our blog under Study Resources there is a link called Multiplication Practice where there are many practice games.  If you find a great site, please share it with us so we can add it to the blog.  Students can also practice on IXL.

WRITING: We have completed our Adapted Fairy Tales and they are delightful! Can’t wait until you hear them at conferences! We are now working on Poetry as students develop the concept of writing for an audience. Our primary focus is how a writer can create  mood and imagery for their audience through word choice, placement on a page, and descriptive and figurative language.

READING/SOCIAL STUDIES: Non-fiction text is where it’s at lately as we launch into our study of Oregon regions. Students are beginning to research different regions of our state and learning so much about the diversity of wildlife, vegetation, climate and landforms.  They can look at an Oregon map for a long time noticing details they’ve never noticed before. You can support them by showing pictures, looking at maps together or talking about the different regions in Oregon you’ve visited.  Your kids are so excited and interested to learn more about their state!  They are eagerly awaiting their letters/packages from the Chambers of Commerce they wrote to last week requesting information. For many, it was the first time they had addressed an envelope, so it was a great experience on many levels. Are you from another region in Oregon? Would you like to come in and talk to our class about how your life was affected by where you lived? We’d love to have you come visit.  Just let me know!

FIELD TRIPS: We have several coming up in the next two months. We need several chaperones. Here are some dates and details:
MARCH 12: 11:45-1:45.  We are walking over to the West Linn Food Pantry to volunteer.  No permission slips are needed because  you signed a Walking Permission Slip at the beginning of the year to cover any neighborhood excursions.  We do need chaperones, so this is a great opportunity to check out our local food pantry, learn how it operates and do a bit of community service while hanging out with some cool third graders.  The food pantry will benefit from our schoolwide canned food drive next month that our class helps to organize, and this is an chance to see where some of the food donations will be going.  We are asking children to bring an item to donate on that day.    I’d really love to have someone come along to take photos that we can submit to the yearbook.  Please let me know if you are willing and able to walk over with us.

APRIL 1: 8:30-12:30 Oregon Food Bank  Our class along with Ms. McMinn’s class, will be heading to the OFB for a tour and volunteering in their packing room. You never know what task you’ll be assigned-from weighing out rice to packing pears. It’s a great way to do some community service, and a chance to see where the food from our food drive will be going.  We need 3 more chaperones to make this trip happen. If you are willing and able, please consider coming with us. 


March 16, 17 and 18: Student-led conferences

March 18: Early Release Day  Students are dismissed at 12:10, Lunch will be served.

March 19 and 20: No School for Conferences

March 23-27: Spring Break!

And don’t forget to set those clocks ahead an hour this weekend! Happy Spring!





Newsletter February 2015

Hi Families and Friends,

February may be a month short on days, but in our classroom we are not sure on learning activities!  Here’s what we are up to this month:

Math: We are setting off on a new math topic this month as we investigate perimeter, angles and area. Now is a great time to have your children use rulers and tape measures to practice their measurement skills.In third grade we measure to the nearest 1/4 inch. Perhaps they could figure out how much carpet it would take to redo their room and how much it would cost.  Or ask them to run around the perimeter of your yard!

Social Studies: We will be looking at world and Oregon geography through the lens of the question, “How does where you live affect how you live?”  Students will become familiar with the continents, major oceans, and lines of latitude (equator, Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer) as well as the Prime Meridian, North and South Poles and how to use a compass rose to find directions.  We will define a region and research the regions of Oregon. This is a wonderful time to start looking at maps with your children. Notice the different types of maps, what the different symbols and colors represent and talk about the famous natural features of Oregon.

If you happen to have friends or family living in different regions of Oregon who would be willing to answer a letter, an email or even skype with our class about the region in which they live, please let me know. We would love to make some personal connections with people around our state to find out how their lives are affected by their geographic location.

Writing: This month we are completing our Fairy Tale Adaptations.  These are new twists on familiar tales.  We are focusing on including character action and dialogue, as well as descriptive language.  We are spending a good deal of time in the revision process, but these tales should be ready for publication shortly.

Reading:  We are continuing to look at how text is organized. We’ve worked with cause and effect, main ideas and supporting details and next we will focus on how author’s provide context to give more information-either through text or pictures. We will be looking closely at text, both literary and non-fiction, to notice the tools authors use to get their meaning across to their audience.

A few classroom notes:

Homework: We’ve finally come up with an homework schedule!  Packets will go home on Tuesday and be due the following Monday. All work, with the exception of poetry, will be due on Tuesday.  Poetry will continue to be presented to the class on Friday.  Please check the cover sheet of the homework packet for the daily assignments.

Field Trips: There are two permission slips attached to this week’s homework packet. One is the field trip to the Oregon Food Bank where we will be volunteering. Our class is involved in organizing the school’s annual food drive and part of our donations go to the Oregon Food Bank.  This is a great opportunity to volunteer and see where the donated food items will be going.    We will leave at 8:30 and should return by 12:30. If you are interested in chaperoning, please let me know.  We will also be taking a walking field trip to our own local food pantry.  No permission slips are necessary for this trip since you all signed a walking field trip permission slip at the beginning of the year.

A second permission slip is for a canoe trip down the Willamette in a dug out canoe! This trip in May will be in conjunction with our studies of Oregon and its native people.  The cost of this trip is $14. We do not want the cost of this trip to deter anyone from participating, so there are scholarships available. Please let me know if you are in need of some financial assistance.  This is the first time our third grade team has gone on this trip, so I’m excited to experience the river trip and learn of the importance of the river to the native populations long ago and its continued importance to our region today. Chaperones are needed for this trip, as well. Please let me know if you are interested and available. If you would like to read more information about the trip please click here.  header-talapas

VALENTINE EXCHANGE: In celebration of friendship, students have elected to exchange valentines on Friday, February 13.  We ask that if you choose to bring in valentines that you bring one for each child in the class.  A class list was sent home attached to last week’s homework packet.  Please let me know if you need another. Valentines do not need to be store bought nor contain candy, but you may.  A nice note to a child is a wonderful valentine.  We have craft supplies available in the classroom if you would like your child to borrow some items to make their own valentines.  It would be helpful to send in a box or bag for students to collect their valentines on that day.

Important Dates:

February 13: Valentine Exchange

February 16: No School  Presidents’ Day

February 25 and 26: Science Fair

Have a wonderful February.


January 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope your winter break gave you a chance to enjoy the company of family and friends. Your children did a beautiful job transitioning back to school life today. It was fun to hear about their vacation adventures, the family traditions enjoyed and good times had by all. We are continuing some learning units and beginning others this week.

EXTREME  WEATHER: Tomorrow students will begin their research and note taking on their extreme weather cities.  They have been given a note-taking template which mirrors what they should include in their slideshow.  Their slides are saved on their Google drive, so they are able to access them from any computer, and partners can work on them simultaneously from home.  The expectation is that they will be working on their projects for homework each evening which is why there is not any spelling or poetry this week.  Expectations remain for completing their IXL work and their daily reading.

FAIRY TALES: This week we are kicking off a fiction writing unit based on fairy tales. Today we began our conversation about what makes a story a fairy tale and  read a few to identify common story patterns.  We will be writing our own adaptations of fairy tales over the next few weeks.  Reading fairy tales aloud together is a great way to support your child as they learn the rhythm of a tale and become more familiar with the elements of a fairy tale. Reading together will help build their background knowledge and make the transition to writing their own tales even more seamless.

BIG NUMBERS:  We are continuing to add and subtract three digit numbers. Our primary strategies have been using the traditional algorithm, adding/subtracting by place and a number line.  I am encouraging students to double-check their work by solving the problem using two different strategies.  We are also emphasizing using estimation before so they have an idea of what a reasonable answer would be. It’s another way to increase their accuracy.  I’ve been finding that many children need to continue to practice their basic addition and subtraction facts.  As we get into larger numbers, things go much faster if they know their facts.  I’ll be sending home little flashcards for you and your child to practice.  Just five minutes each evening can  make a big difference.

RESOLUTIONS: Your child should have come home with their 2015 resolution sheet to review with you. In it they have identified books they’d like to read, a habit they’d like to change, a goal they have for themselves and new experiences they’d like to have this year.  Please have a conversation with your child about their thoughtful reflections and the goals they have set for themselves.  Perhaps you could make a plan together on how you could help support their endeavors or maybe your family has goals they’d like to work on together.  I’m hopeful that their reflections will generate some rich conversations.  Please send those sheets back in to school tomorrow so we can use them for an activity. Then students will bring them home to keep as visual reminders of their goals.


The Little Mermaid: The Missoula Theater Company is back and gearing up for this year’sstudent production of The Little Mermaid.  Last year’s Pinocchio show was a great success and everyone involved said it was a wonderful experience.  Pre-registration sign-ups are via email.  If interested, you need to email starting at 6:30pm on Tuesday, January 6.  In the subject line include your child’s name, age and teacher.  You will receive a response indicating whether your child in in the cast or has been placed on a waiting list.  The cost for this enrichment opportunity is $35.  If you receive a spot, you must submit a completed registration form and money to the office no later than Friday, January 9.  Registration forms can be picked up at the office or can be printed from

Girls On The Run:  Another high quality enrichment program offered at Willamette for girls in grades 3-5 is Girls on the Run.  Having been a buddy runner for the past few years, I highly recommend this program!  This 12 week program combines training for a 5K road race with lessons to encourage girls to be independent thinkers, problem solvers and healthy decision makers. Participants meet after school twice a week from March-May.  Registration is now open and closes on February 6.  The cost is $150 and scholarships are available.  You can find more information at

Winter Enrichment Classes: You should be receiving an email by the end of this week with the enrichment classes being offered for this term.  Keep an eye out for some fun after school opportunities!

Fun Run! Students are building their stamina for our school Fun Run on January 23rd.  During this annual fundraiser, students are sponsored through flat donations or by the lap. All classes will run laps around the gym. It’s a fun, healthy way to raise funds for our awesome PTA!  You can help by sponsoring your child, volunteering to help at the event, encouraging your child to practice running and/or by running with our class on the day of the event.  Look for the information packet to come home with your child soon.

Specials Schedule:

Monday/Tuesday: Music,  Wednesday: Library,  Thursday/Friday: Wellness *

*Please be sure your child has appropriate footwear for Wellness class so they are able to fully participate.    For safety reasons, students should wear tennis shoes. No boots, sandals, or flip-flops.  Thanks for your help!

I’m looking forward to continuing our work together in 2015 and wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy new year!


January 14: Early Release Day– Students will be dismissed at 12:10.  Lunch is served before students leave for the day. Please let me know if after school plans will be different for your child on that day.

January 19: No school in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

December 2014 Newsletter

Hi Families,

Welcome back from Thanksgiving break.  I hope your time was spent having fun and relaxing with your families.We are now looking ahead to all of the excitement of the season and of our classroom. So many great learning opportunities happening this month:

EXTREME WEATHER: This month student partnerships will be choosing a world city that has some interesting weather patterns.  They will convince The X Band that even though this city does experience extreme weather, they have designed a way to lessen the impact of the naturally occurring events.    Their task is to convince the band to stop in their city during their next world tour without fear of weather related incidents due to their stellar problem solving and creative design work. This unit of study will integrate our science, literacy and technology standards as students conduct research, become knowledgeable about weather patterns and climate regions, utilize non-fiction text features, create a slide show and present a persuasive argument to The X Band members.  All the while developing their time management and collaborative work skills with an emphasis on craftsmanship. All of  these build upon the skills developed during the salmon book writing experience.   It should be a fun learning experience for everyone.

MATH: Our next unit of study gets into really  BIG numbers as students will be adding and subtracting numbers in the thousands.  We will use what we already know about number patterns to help in the process.  Being fluent in one-digit addition and subtraction facts, as well as the numbers that add to make ten will be so important as we move forward with these larger numbers.  Continuing to practice those facts so they are automatic is a great way for you to support your mathematicians.

BOOK FAIR: The Book Fair is happening this week from 8:00-4:00 each day. Our class will visit the book fair during our regular library time on Wednesday.  The fair will also be open early on Wednesday for a special Dads and Doughnuts event.  The book fair will be open from 7:00-7:50 for dads to come with their children to shop for books, have a coffee and enjoy a doughnut.  It is also open late on Friday so you can shop during the movie night at 6:30.  This is a great opportunity to purchase books while helping out the school as a percentage of the proceeds goes right back into buying books for our library. A big shout of thanks goes out to those parents who are volunteering by doing set up, manning the tables or doing take down of the fair. It’s a tremendous amount of work, so we thank you all for making it happen for our kids!

GIFT DRIVE: This year classrooms will again be sponsoring local families and helping to provide an enjoyable holiday experience for them.  We are collecting gift cards from local businesses to help the families purchase gifts and groceries for their children.  This week we will be matched with our class family and I will let you know ages and genders of the children.  Please consider helping out our Willamette family by purchasing gift cards, gifts, household items or gift wrap and sending it to school.  Mark Silverman and former Willamette parent, Priscilla Koczian, will be leading the charge on this annual Willamette event and getting gift baskets out to our families.  Thank you for helping with this community service project! It’s yet another reason Willamette is such a special place.

MOVIE  NIGHT: Friday, December 5 at 6:30 pm in the gym.  Another fun Willamette tradition is to gather in the gym to watch a movie together.  Wear your  jammies and bring your low chairs, pillows, and sleeping bags to enjoy Peabody and Sherman on Friday night. This is not a drop-off event, so parents must stay with children.  Popcorn is provided and candy and water is available for purchase. We will also be accepting donations of new packages of socks and underwear to support the Clackamas Community Clothes Closet. Hope to see you there!

EARLY RELEASE DAY: December 10.Students are dismissed at 12:10.  Lunch will be served.   Please let me know if after school plans will be different on that day. Buses will run on their normal routes.

PROGRESS REPORTS: Students will bring home progress reports on December 12.  Please review the reports and work samples with your child.  There is much to celebrate! Please sign the manila envelope and return that to school.  The gray folder and its contents stays at home with you.

WINTER BREAK: Student breaks begin with no school on Friday, December 19. Classes will resume on Monday, January 5th.

This month can be a wild one with so many pulls on our time and energies. I hope you will find a few quiet moments along the way to recharge your batteries when needed, and take opportunities to marvel in the delights of the season and the joy that bubbles from your children.  They are a lively, positive, curious group of kiddos and it’s a gift to me that I can spend my days listening to them and learning so much from them.  Many thanks to you for sending them to school so ready and eager to learn.





Newsletter October 2014

Hello Families,

Thank you so much for participating in parent-teacher conferences last week. It was wonderful to sit down together to chat, share observations of your children and set goals. I hope it was valuable time for you and that any questions you had about their progress or our classroom were answered. If you find that you have some lingering questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Please review the goal statements with your children and help them to form an action plan.  Students will report on their progress towards those goals in the December report card.

Homework: We are making a change to our homework schedule. I will give out the assignments on Monday and then they will be due on the following Monday, rather than Friday.  Many families expressed an interest in having a bit more time to review homework together and the extra weekend would afford them that opportunity.

Rosetta Stone All students now have at home access to Rosetta Stone, a computer based language learning program.  To access the program, go to our school website at and scroll down to find the Quick Hotlinks on the right.  Click on Rosetta Stone and students should sign-in using their school email address as the username and the same password they use to log on to our classroom blog which is capital P followed by their six-digit student id number.  (Please let me know if you need your child’s number.) Students will be using Rosetta Stone once a week in the library, but the more they practice the more familiar they will become with the Spanish language including vocabulary and pronunciation of words.

Math: We have completed our first unit of study which focused on place value, addition and subtraction using a variety of strategies.  We are now spending time collecting and analyzing data, and creating graphs to represent the information.  The IXL homework modules this week are all about reading and creating different types of graphs.  We are also graphing the daily temperatures for this month.  A great way to support your child’s learning is to point out tables, charts and graphs in your everyday life. I was just reading a chart with my daughter on the box of a baking mix when we were trying to find the right number of minutes to bake cornbread in the type of pan we were using.  Since then I’ve really been aware of the many places graphic representations are used.  Once you start looking for them, you will see them everywhere! Please take the opportunity to support your child’s learning by pointing out this real world application of the skills they are learning in school. Or send in any charts, graphs or tables that you find (or email me a picture if you see one while you are out and about) so your child can share with the whole class.

Science: We are moving away from our physical science studies of force and motion and moving on to life sciences with our study of salmon.  This exciting unit  will focus on the life cycle of salmon.  We will be reading, writing and talking about salmon in our classroom and then later this month moving outside on our field study at Bonneville Fish Hatchery and Eagle Creek where we will observe spawning salmon! There is a lot of energy around salmon studies as students learn more about these fascinating animals.  In conjunction with this unit, we will be focusing on non-fiction text features in reading and doing our own expository writing when we create salmon books. Please feel free to share with your children or our class as a whole, any resources, print or video, that you may have about salmon, their habitats, behaviors or life cycle.  Do you have a great salmon story to tell? Come on in and share your tales with us!

Field Trips: We have two trips planned and permission slips have been distributed. Can’t find the slip? No problem. Just let me know so I can send home another. (If it helps, they were both printed on green paper.)  The first is the trip mentioned above to Eagle Creek/Bonneville Fish Hatchery on October 31.  Please send in your child’s signed permission slip by the end of this week. There is no cost for this trip.

The second trip is to see the Ramona play in May.  Even though it’s quite far out, we need to pay for our tickets ahead of time.  Please return your child’s signed permission slip and $8.00 cost by the end of this week. If you are interested in chaperoning, please let me know by emailing me or sending in a note along with the $8.00 ticket cost.  I will be handing in money and giving the theater the final seat count for our group on Friday.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for these trips.  We couldn’t do this without you folks!

And finally, a BIG Willamette welcome to the newest member of our class, Koa Murray! We are so happy to have the Murrays join our Willamette family.

Here are a few dates to remember this month:

October 24: Family Pizza Bingo Night! 5:30-7:30 in the gym.  Come with the whole family to play BINGO, eat pizza and even parade around in your costume if you’d like. It’s loads of fun for everyone!

October 29: Early Release Day  Students are dismissed at 12:10. Please let me know if there are any changes to your child’s normal after school plan on that day.  It is also picture retake day.

October 31: Field Trip to Eagle Creek/Bonneville Fish Hatchery Please pack a lunch and snack for your child on that day.  Be sure your child is dressed for the weather, as we go rain or shine.  This is Oregon!  We hike along the creek for a bit, so it’s best to wear shoes/boots that you don’t mind getting muddy or dirty.

Don’t forget to set those clocks back on November 2!  Happy Fall!


September 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to the new year!

These past few weeks have been jam packed with activity and fun in our classroom. Not to mention a tremendous amount of learning. We’ve been spending time getting to know one another and becoming familiar with classroom routines and expectations.  This is an exceptional group to be sure!

Our first assignment of creating a Me Museum was such a hit that some students suggested doing it again midway through the year and again at the end of the year!  Students set up their exhibits and we spent time reading description cards and looking at the items people chose to share to represent themselves.

The selected items were as varied as our class.  From treasured crafts to Lego creations, and from favorite books to magic wands! As we silently circulated from table to table, students wrote comments to the exhibitors on sticky notes that were at each display.


I was touched by the respect, care and interest that the class showed for one another;spending a good deal of time reading and looking at each exhibit. Once everyone returned to their original displays, the silence in the room continued as each person spent time reading all of the comments their peers had left for them. What a wonderful way for us to learn about one another and receive positive feedback from our peers.  If this experience is any kind of indicator, and I believe it is,  this will be an outstanding year!  Many thanks to all of you for your support as your children decided what to bring to best represent themselves and how to describe their selections in writing.

It was a great experience.

Thank you so much for attending Curriculum Night last week.  I always enjoy meeting my classroom parents and having them step into their child’s daily world.  I hope you will be frequent visitors in the classroom.  We will have many opportunities for you to work with us in the classroom as volunteers and also occasions where you are invited guests as we celebrate new learnings and growth.

I hope you were able to see your child’s beautiful watercolor portraits hanging in the classroom. They are stunning!  Their Important Book Page writing is displayed on the main hallway bulletin board outside our classroom.  Currently the class has been working on adding specific details to their writing and being intentional about using memorable language as they compose their Bio- poems.  Already these third graders are growing as writers-becoming more fluent, considering their audience and becoming intentional with word choice.  I’m excited to embark on our next writing adventure as students reflect on growth mindset experiences from their own lives and the lessons they’ve learned.

I will use this blog to update you on upcoming school events and current happenings in the classroom. Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions.  I hope this blog is a useful tool in helping you to gain insight into your child’s classroom life and the learning they are doing over the course of this year.



Wednesday, September 24: Early release day.  Dismissal is at 12:10.  Students will have lunch at school and buses are operating on normal bus routes.

Thursday, September 25: Picture Day. Order forms have gone home.  There will be a retake day later in the fall.

CONFERENCES: Please sign up for goal setting conferences on the school website.  Go to the PASS icon at the top right hand side.  You will need your child’s username and pin number that was sent home in a letter last week.  If the dates/times are not convenient for you, please let me know so we can make alternate arrangements.  Conference dates are afternoons/evenings of October 6 and 7, as well as all day on October 8.  There is no school for students on October 8, 9 and 10.