• LANGUAGE ARTS
    Language arts includes reading and writing. We use a Reader's Workshop approach, incorporating small-group reading, where we share a variety of fiction and non-fiction books.  In order to help your child become a better reader, please make sure that s/he is reading at home for 20 minutes 5-6 nights per week.

    We frequently write in our journals, and we'll be working on paragraph and essay writing throughout the year.

    SPELLING
    Lists are sent home on the first day of the week, but we skip spelling on 3-day weeks. The test is given on Thursday. If your child is a challenge speller for the week, s/he has an alternate list, and the homework that is sent home on Monday is not due until Thursday, when s/he will take the test.

    MATH
    Our Everyday Math is challenging and fun! The important thing to remember about the math skills your child will be practicing is that, while some of the skills should be mastered, others are being introduced for the first time. For each math unit, your child will bring home a packet of "Home Links," which is the homework for that unit. The completed packet is due back when we are finished with the unit. Please practice addition/subtraction flash cards and later multiplication/division flash cards 3-4 nights per week.

    SCIENCE
    Our Scott Foresman science book keeps us VERY busy!! Sometimes we give tests after we finish a chapter, but sometimes the kids do projects at school. When we do give tests, a study guide, covering all of the tested information, is sent home 2 days before the test so that there is plenty of time to study.

    SOCIAL STUDIES
    We also have a Scott Foresman social studies book, called Communities. Like science, we will do some projects and some tests, complete with study guides.

    EXPECTATIONS
    At Prairieland we incorporate the word PAWS to help us remember our behavior goals. PAWS stands for Positive Actions, Words, and Safety. I also add one rule for our class--Do your best! I feel that this covers every situation. If a child is having difficulty following the rules, I ask him/her to put her/his head down for 5 minutes, just to take a "time out." That way, s/he can still hear the lesson, but the behavior is extinguished. (hopefully!) We also keep track of problem behaviors on a clipboard, which goes with the class to their specials. I try to use the principles of "Love and Logic" in my classroom and have found that we all seem to get along pretty well with this system.

    HOMEWORK
    My expectation for third graders is that they do about 30 minutes of homework per night, Monday-Thursday. (I go by the old "10 minutes per grade" rule.) All of the homework for the day is written down in an assignment book that comes home every night. Most days, your child will get some sort of sheet, such as vocabulary or spelling practice, and we'll write the number of the math lesson to be completed. Though the math packet comes home as we begin the chapter, I ask that your child does not do the lessons until they are assigned. Your child is also expected to read something of his/her choice each night for a minimum of 20 minutes. Though I don't give homework for the weekend, I would still like to see him/her reading at least 5-6 days a week. If your child is working on homework for longer than 45 minutes per night on a consistent basis, please let me know, and we can modify the assignments.

    OTHER IMPORTANT INFO
    *Birthdays!! If your child would like to bring a treat on his/her birthday, that is fine, but certainly not required. (We especailly love healthy snacks, and we have a tree nut allergy in our class, so no tree nuts on the ingredient list!) If s/he wants to bring invitations to a birthday party to school, that is only acceptable if s/he is inviting everyone to the party (or all of the girls if she is a girl, or all of the boys if he is a boy). There are just too many hurt feelings when invitations are passed out to only a few.

    *If you ever have questions, concerns, or information you think I need to know, please feel free to contact me by email (whitcosj@unit5.org) or by calling the school at 555-4424.