What are your tools for communicating with parents and families?
This is the place to be! This blog is my most valuable home-school communication tool. This is where you'll find out all kinds of important information about your child's school day.
Please visit the blog as often as you can. It truly is a window into what we do in Room 208 everyday. By visiting the blog, you can support your child's learning on a regular basis. You'll not only learn about what the boys and girls are learning, you'll find links to videos I create, class photo albums, useful documents and other helpful printables such as practice tests and extra practice activities. You're also welcome to comment and ask questions via the blog. I've created this blog to support my students in their learning. I hope you enjoy visiting and that you find helpful.
The next most important tool I use for home-school communication is the Student Agenda. Students write in their agendas each day and I review it. Students are expected to copy the agenda from our homework board neatly and precisely so that their parents are able to read it. I also like to use the agenda to write notes to the student and parents. Please sign the agenda each night and then I know that you know what's going on, so to speak.
Other forms of home-school communication include notes/letters, meetings and phone calls.
What is your email policy?
I want to remind parents and families that on January 13, 2013, my email policy changed and I announced that I would no longer communicate with parents and families via email and this includes any other electronic format such as texting. Comments that respect the Comment Policy are always welcome on the blog.
Please do not email me. After a great deal of experience and consideration, it is not a form of communication I find appropriate for parents and teachers. Regardless of the message that needs to be communicated, it is not the way I want to exchange information concerning my students and I am asking that parents respect this. Other teachers may find it convenient and appropriate, I do not.
My focus, as always is to be the very best teacher I can be to my students and in order to do so, I need to make the best use of my time both in the classroom and outside of school hours. I would appreciate your support in this matter and ask that if you have information to share with me you call me at the school, write a note in the agenda or arrange a meeting with me.
What do parents need to know about E.Q.A.O?
EQAO usually takes place in late May or early June. It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. Since the activities students are asked to complete on their EQAO assessment are based on the Grade Three Curriculum, the boys and girls are very familiar with the content and format when it comes time to write. The assessment is returned to the students in the Fall of Grade Four. The scores are not reflected on the report card.
I have high expectations for the children in my class. These expectations are modeled and begin on the first day of school. I believe that the day-to-day lessons, activities and exercises I prepare for the students enable them to confidently complete the assessment.
If you are looking for more information on how we prepare for EQAO, please use the search function on the main page of the blog.
For previous assessment samples, click here to visit the Ministry's website.
What is your Homework Policy?
Students put in a full day of work in Room 208. I do not assign a lot of homework. I try to stick with a regular homework schedule so that everyone knows what to expect and when to expect it. This way, families can plan their week accordingly.
Now having said that, there will be times (only occasionally) when work comes home that isn't part of our regular cycle (for example, if a child wasn't able to finish a specific task in class or if I feel extra practice is required on a particular skill, sometimes, and other times, we just run out of time in our day).
Students are expected to read each night for 20 minutes. In Term Two, this increases to 40 minutes. Students are expected to prepare for each Friday’s Poem of the Week test. Beginning mid-October, students will have Practice Pages on Tuesdays and Thursday nights.
There is no formal homework assigned on Monday evenings and weekends. I also do my best to avoid assigning tests on Mondays.
Some homework may be assigned from the Science teacher.
What are the expectations for student communication?
Students are expected to communicate orally in a manner that is respectful and thoughtful. We always use one another’s name when speaking to each other. Students are strongly encouraged to speak in complete sentences. They are asked to participate in class discussions; sharing both facts and opinions. In writing exercises, students must also use complete sentences, explain or defend their thinking when necessary using evidence from their text and demonstrate their comprehension. A focus is placed on using classroom resources in writing exercises. The students are taught to think of themselves as authors and as such, they must use a variety of resources to communicate with sparkle and sophistication.
We're going on vacation this year, how can I make sure my child doesn't fall behind while we're gone?
Vacations are a great opportunity for different kinds of learning. And since most of my lessons involve interactive technology, hands-on activities or exercises that are first modeled extensively and released to students gradually, it is not possible to send along the work completed in class.
If it's extra practice you're looking for, or something to keep your child busy during down time, please google: "free worksheets" followed by the specific topic or subject you're looking to cover. There are many high-quality printables available online for this purpose.
Please visit the blog regularly during your trip so you can help your child stay on top of what we've covered.
I find that children are quickly caught up within a day or two upon their return to school.
Do you need classroom volunteers?
If you are able to assist in the classroom and you have the required Criminal Reference Check, please send along your name and availability. While I don’t often require parent volunteers, it’s always helpful to know who I can call upon to assist from time to time.
What sort of things to children learn in Grade Three?
In Language Arts, reading and writing will become more sophisticated as students learn to make connections between what they read and the world around them. Their appreciation for text will improve as they study the 6+1 Traits of Writing and apply them to their own writing.
Grade Three is a big year. It really is the last year we teach children how to read. I think my grade partners and I do a great job of transitioning our students from learning how to read to learning to read for specific information and purposes.
Students will learn all about how to support their ideas and opinions by giving evidence from the text in their writing across all subject areas.
In Science and Social Studies, students will learn about:
• Urban and Rural communities
In Math, students will learn:
- new problem solving strategies
- how to multiply and divide
- all about mass and capacity
- how to take skills we've learned and apply them to new problem solving situations
- how to explain their thinking in mathematical terms
- the importance of using math language
- critical thinking skills
How do I get in touch with you?
As their teacher, my students’ academic and overall well-being are my priority. Home and school communication are critical to every child’s success. I prefer if we take a more traditional route to our communication. There may be times when we need to email one another, but for the most part, I prefer face-to-face and telephone conversations concerning the boys and girls.
Failing that, we can use letters (in a sealed envelope please) and the Student Agenda to communicate.
The best way to reach me by phone is to call the school during lunch hour or after school (905-257-7102) until 4:00.
One other way you can be in the loop is to visit my blog regularly. As I mentioned above, it is an invaluable classroom tool and enables parents to be a part of their child’s day like never before.
How do we celebrate birthdays in Room 208?
Everyone deserves to have their big day celebrated! In light of our school’s “Healthy Snack” policy, many parents have kindly dropped off fruit or vegetable and dip platters on their child’s birthday to be shared. While they are a very generous alternative to cupcakes, they aren’t very practical for a busy classroom.
The supervision and preparation required to hand out the snacks takes from precious learning and instructional time. We have our own fun traditions in the classroom when a student celebrates a birthday. If you would like to send something to school on your child’s birthday, here are some suggestions:
- novelty pencils or notepads
- novelty erasers
- Peanut-free granola bars
- pre-packaged Rice Krispie squares
- bouncy balls (from the Dollar Store)
What about tests and projects?
I will not be assigning any projects this year. Students will have homework assignments that may require more preparation than usual (e.g. memorize and present a dramatic reading of a poem).
Poem of the Week tests are usually held each Friday (but sometimes Thursdays) and take the place of what you and I used to call the “Spelling Dictation”.
Math tests are usually on Thursdays but at times, they may take place during other days of the week.
For Science tests and projects: they are accompanied by a very detailed outline well in advance of the due date.
For those tests, students will receive a detailed study guide, along with a breakdown of the test and the types of questions that will be asked.
Time will be spent on in-class review sessions to further prepare students for all tests.
What about Spelling Tests?
In Room 208 we have the “Poem of the Week Test” and we have one just about every Friday. Each week, we study a new poem. This poem becomes the focus for our Word Study. Gone are the days of assigning students 20 words to memorize and then testing them Friday morning with a traditional dictation. Students need to see and say words in context to fully appreciate them and incorporate them into their vocabulary. By reading aloud, studying and analyzing the Poem of the Week several times a day, students not only improve their spelling skills and reading comprehension, they build a more dynamic vocabulary. Their reading fluency also improves as we learn new tricks of the trade each week.
Students also learn to appreciate the many conventions of the written language (e.g. words in all capitals tell us that someone is shouting or excited: THE LEAFS WON THE STANLEY CUP!)
Our first test will be a practice test for the children. We’ll complete it together so they’ll know what to expect each week.
Since the questions follow a very predictive format each week, in no time you’ll be able to assist your child in preparing for the test.
I've created a study guide for parents to use in helping their child to prepare for the weekly tests.
You can print the study guide by clicking here.
Can we leave comments or ask questions on your blog?
Yes, absolutely! Please make sure your comments/questions are polite and positive. The comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted and responded to. This means parents can count on this blog as a safe place for children to visit as well.