Welcome to Third Grade Room 207 Mrs. Tomsheck
Welcome Parents! I have had an amazing summer full of wonderful Professional Development. I have been working on a new approach called The Responsive Classroom. It is an approach that supports the idea that children learn best when they feel a sense of belonging, when they feel significant, and when they are having fun. These ideas have always been a part of my philosophy in education. I am very excited to begin this year with my students feeling they are a part of a community. Our room will be a place that is full of respect for one another. It will be in the first few weeks of school that we will take the time to really learn what a community looks and feels like.
Morning Meeting One component that we will participate in is called Morning Meeting. Morning Meeting is a wonderful new beginning to your child’s school day. It sets a positive tone, increases excitement about learning, and improves academic and social skills. Morning Meeting usually takes between 20-30 minutes. First thing in the morning, the children gather in a circle. We begin by greeting each other. Every day your child hears his or her name spoken by a classmate in a friendly and cheerful manner. Next, a few students share some interesting news followed by a conversation with the class. This helps students listen carefully, think about what they hear, formulate good questions, and learn about each other. When children share, they have a chance to feel that their ideas are valued and that the other children care. After sharing, there is an activity for the whole class. We might sing or recite a poem or play a math game. The activity time helps the class feel united as a group, reinforces academic skills, and helps the children learn how to cooperate and solve problems.
Finally, we read the Morning Message chart, which helps students think about the day ahead. Sometimes, I use this time to review and practice a reading, punctuation or math skill. Every day, Morning Meeting lets children know that school is a safe place where all children’s feelings and ideas are important. We’d love to have you visit a Morning Meeting. Just give us some time to establish our daily routine. Please contact me if you would like to join us in this magical, educational experience. You will see for yourself why we are so excited about this start to our day!
Math We will be using Everyday Mathematics. It is a project developed by The University of Chicago. We will continue to build on your child’s current mathematical skills while introducing new math concepts. Multiplication, Fractions, Geometry, Place Value in Whole Numbers and Decimals and much more will be part of your child’s mathematical year! This program is full of games that will keep math fun and exciting. I believe in this program and feel that the hands-on approach it takes leads to a child’s success in Mathematics.
Family Math KitsYoungest family Member • Colombo • Droeger • Jaffe • Kameli • Khazaie • Lahti • McDonough • McHugh • Mendonsa • Pratt • Stevenson
Science and Social Studies The third grade team is looking forward to our units in Science and Social Studies this year. The students will be learning new and interesting ideas. They will be given the opportunity to explore, experiment and create. Some of our planned units are: • Biographies of Inventors • Inventions • States and Capitals • Chicago • Rocks and Minerals
Reading Reading is thinking. When a student makes connections to the stories he/she reads their comprehension skills flourish. In Literature Circles students are given the power to bring a book to life. Each child will be assigned a “job” when reading a book. The students will be put into reading groups, and together they will discover how fun reading can be while making connections along the way.
Writer’s Workshop My writing curriculum is by Lucy Calkins. I have had experience with this program, and I have seen the magic that is created during writing time. There is a great deal on wonderful Children’s Literature integrated into this writing curriculum.
Language Arts In 3rd grade we learn cursive writing. Your child will have a handwriting book, and we will be completing it in the first few months of school. We will continue to build our word analysis skills, comprehension skills, and grammar skills. I will be integrating these skills into our reading activities using Read Alouds, Literature Circles, Independent and Guided Reading as tools.
Quiet Time Quiet time is a time when students work quietly by themselves. It provides some balance in the rhythm of the school day and releases children from the demands of interaction with others. The entire classroom is silent as we reflect and rejuvenate.
Snack Please provide a healthy snack for your child each day. Some healthy snack ideas are: Yogurt (please provide the spoon), cheese, fruit, vegetables or crackers. NO NUTS!!! This is also a rule for all of lunch items. We are a nut free school.
Closing Circle/Reflection Friday We will pause often to reflect upon things we have learned, behaviors that are serving us well, and those that are not. Questions such as “What made our activity feel fun and friendly today?” or “Why did our game fall apart?” serve as quick, frequent check-ins and will become a part of the fabric in our class. Each Friday we will have a closing circle, a more formal and lengthier reflection time, ending our week together in a calm and thoughtful way. First, we go around the circle, each person sharing something she/he feels proud of from the week that is ending. Then we share a few moments of silent reflection, during which we compose a wish.
Time Out It is important to understand that TIME OUT in your child’s classroom is not a punishment! Rules will be forgotten, mistakes will happen, your child may feel frustrated, and self-control may be lost. It is my job, as your child’s teacher, to help them regain self-control. There will be a great deal of discussion about how Time Out will be used in our classroom. It will be a safe place where anyone can go when they feel the need to regroup and regain their self-control.
Conduct and Expectations Each student is expected to help create a classroom climate conducive for learning. Each student should behave responsibly in independent and group activities. Classroom Expectations: • Respect yourself, classmates, and teachers. • Listen to and follow directions. • Complete work on time. • Always try your hardest!
Homework The purpose of homework is to reinforce and practice the skills and lessons learned throughout the day. Homework can be given Monday through Thursday and last anywhere between 10 to 45 minutes. Some special projects may need to be completed over the weekend. Students will use the folder they bring on the first day of school as their individual homework folder. Reading is extremely important. So even if free reading time is not listed in the assignment notebook, it is an expectation on a regular basis. Please make sure your child has the proper space, time and materials needed to complete their work. Students are expected to complete their homework in pencil and must be legible. Homework turned in late will receive a lowered grade. If a student receives an unsatisfactory grade on an assignment, he/she may redo the work to improve the grade. I am more concerned with a child trying his/her best as opposed to the letter grade, so it is important for the child to try again until he/she grasps the material or concept.
Assignment Notebook Although the day’s assignments are written on the assignment board as a reminder, assignments and detailed instructions are given during each period. It is the students’ responsibility to record assignments in their notebooks. Each night, the notebook is to be initialed by a parent saying you have seen what needs to be done and the actual completed assignment. There is also a place to write notes to me. I will respond on a daily basis.
Newsletter • Will be available on my webpage www.catherinecookschool.org/tomsheck • Will be posted every other week.
Birthdays The Lower School would like to celebrate student birthdays in a special way. We would like to celebrate by reading our most treasured stories. We encourage you to spend time with your child outside of class and select a book that he/she would like to donate to our classroom library. We are working hard at minimizing treats in the classroom, so this is a great way to still highlight your child’s special day and focus on celebrating the great books we all cherish. If you would like to send in small, individualized-sized treats in addition to the birthday book, you are welcome to do so.
Lockers • Each child gets a locker. Ours our located just outside the classroom. • Please take notice of the size. Students bags and outdoor clothing need to fit in the lockers. • The lockers are brand new. There are no stickers allowed inside our outside of the lockers.
How to Contact Me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-266-3381 ext. 176 If your child will be absent PLEASE contact me, and I will inform the front office! I will return emails and phone messages promptly!
One last important note: It is important for you to allow your child the independence of coming into school and the classroom all by him/herself. If you need to contact me please do so by the means stated on the previous page. Our morning is very busy from 8:15 and on so please be respectful to all of us learning together.