The following blog post is an exact replica of the Welcome Letter I sent to parents last fall. The purpose of this letter is to set up some structures and expectations for the home-school connection. I believe that homework should only be about practising a known skill. I also believe that daily reading is the main activity families can do to ensure success at school. Check it out and let me know what you think!
September 6th, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians of Grade 3 & 4 Students,
Welcome back to school families! The kids call me Mrs. M.G. and I am excited for another year of helping the kids grow and learn in Grades 3 & 4. Along with our neighboring Grade 3 & 4 class, we will have some exciting learning experiences and fieldtrips. Early in the school year students and I will create the classroom rules and routines. Here’s what you need to know for now:
Students will have time each day to record work and important upcoming dates in their agenda. The agenda will be our daily means of communication with the home. And it’s a great tool for students learning to manage their time and responsibilities. Please look in the plastic sleeve at the front of the agenda for notes from school. Parents are asked to make a routine of checking and initialing the agenda each day so I know you are receiving the information there.
Reading at Home (building toward 30 minutes daily)
It will be a daily expectation for students to read. At this age, it is appropriate for students to read aloud to a parent or guardian, to listen to a parent read, and to read silently to themselves. Yes to all forms of reading! Students will be working to build enough stamina to read for up to 30 minutes daily at home. We will visit the library every Day 3 in the school cycle to select books to bring home for reading. Please remind your child to bring library book returns to school every Day 3 in the morning.
Spelling (approximately 5 minutes Tuesday and Thursday)
Each student will be assessed at school, and placed in a group to learn language patterns, rules and meanings according to his or her needs. In addition to Word Work practise at school, students will be able to access spellingcity.com at home to learn their words. Lists will be attached in student agendas. Tests will happen every two weeks on Thursdays. Please expect the spelling program to begin in October.
Math (approximately 5 minutes Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
We will do Math Workshop regularly. During this time, the teacher will work with a small group of students learning a new skill while other students will practise all parts of math such as: strategy, reasoning, problem-solving, number sense, and number facts through games and activities appropriate for their abilities. One big focus in mathematics for Grades 3 and 4 students is multiplication and division! Please look for notes in the student agenda book and through e-mail regarding math practise at home. It is a good idea to “freshen up” the addition and subtraction facts at home at this time. The dollar store has flashcards.
Finally, please look for the T.W.A.S. duo tang coming home every Friday. T.W.A.S. stands for “This Week At School”. Students will work with assistance and specific structures to compose a friendly letter, letting you know what happened each week at school. Please read and discuss this letter with your child. Having a real audience to write for is very motivating. You may choose to write back or simply sign the letter to show that an adult has read it.
Please feel free to contact me at the school or by e-mail any time. My e-mail address is *****. I look forward to collaborating with you in your child’s education.
Katie McArthur-Grant, Teacher, Grades 3 & 4
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