August 20, 2018

Dear Third Grade Students and Parents,


     Welcome to the third grade at OLL! I hope you all had a restful summer.

I am looking forward to working with you and your child and have heard many good things about our rising third graders. I consider it a real privilege that you have placed him/her in my care. As many of you already know, one of the things that makes OLL so successful is the support of the parents working closely with the teachers. Your volunteer time and efforts are greatly appreciated and rewarded in the growth and enrichment of your children.

     Soon I will have that opportunity to get to know your child and his/her learning styles. If you have any questions or concerns, please send a note with your child in the morning or call the office to set up an appointment for a conference or phone call.

     Book Covers: As I am sure you are all aware, all textbooks need to be covered. The hard covered books should be covered with cloth or paper book covers. The soft covered books should be covered in CLEAR contact paper.

Please help your child label all books and supplies.

     Student Supplies: It is very important that your child have all the supplies that are included on the list for third grade. This really helps the school year run smoothly from the beginning. Composition books will be labeled at school. We do not need pencil boxes. Please send in a regular size box of tissues that the class can use as the year progresses. The third grade supply list is available in the school office, or you can view it on the website.

     Homework: Some homework will be assigned on most week days and, on occasion, on the weekend. Unfinished homework will also be done the following night for additional homework. You and your child will know well in advance about upcoming tests, assignments, projects and reports. Encourage your child to realize the importance of turning in assignments when they are due. Your child will copy his assignments from the board every day in his/her homework pad so please check this over on a daily basis. The homework is posted on my website each week and a copy is sent home everyMonday in the weekly newsletter.

     Making up Homework: If your child is ill for several days, arrangements can be made to make up the important work. If your child is absent for one day, work can be made up upon return. I will save work to be completed for your child.

     Grading: Grades (S-Satisfactory, N-Needs help, U-Unsatisfactory) are based on many criteria such as mastery of the subject, class participation, cooperation, promptness in turning in assignments, class work, homework tests, and neatness. Graded papers and tests will be sent home every week. Please sign and date the folder, keep the papers, and return the empty folder.

     Birthdays: Birthdays are always a special event for everyone. Children are permitted to wear dress clothes on their special day and bring in a snack to share with the class. Please do not send in drinks as they are not allowed on the carpeting. Water will be provided. Snack time is approximately 10:00 a.m. If your child has a summer birthday, it can be celebrated at the 1/2 birthday or at a time of your choosing. Just let me know which day is good for you and your child.

     Wednesday Mailer: The Wednesday mailer is online.

     Reading: We will start off the year with the famous Readfest Program. This is a wonderful way to kick off the beginning of 3rd grade as it challenges the children to read. The celebration at the end of Readfest is exciting for the children and reinforces our belief that reading is important and fun. Our Dr. Seuss reading program begins in January and ends in March on Theodore Geisel's birthday.

     We will use our Reading Series: Journeys - a Houghton Mifflin Program as well as reading some fine third grade literature together. We will cover one reading story per week as a class. Students will be tested on vocabulary, comprehension, and phonics on Thursdays each week from the reading story. We will continue to use “The Daily Five” breaking up into mini reading groups or reading with a partner.

     Centers: Many enjoyable centers await your child too, such as Little Explorers (introduction to research on the Internet), Religion Thinkers, Letter Writing, Exploring Electronics, Chess, 3D puzzles, The Never Ending Story, Using a Thesaurus, Creative Writing, and Wacky Web Tales.

     Math: The third grade will use the highly rated Sadlier-Oxford Math program. This Program is loaded with hands-on activities and all of the pages for class work and homework are prepared by the publisher in textbook and workbook form. The children will be required to memorize the multiplication tables through twelve. We will begin with the x7 facts first in early October. We play Around the World and other fun math games in school to reinforce learned facts, but it is also necessary to practice the facts using flashcards at home.

     Math Superstars: Math Superstars is a non-graded math challenge program that will be handed out on Monday and returned by Friday. This is above and beyond the regular math program, but it really challenges the students to interpret and work through multi-level word problems. It is designed to incorporate parent involvement. Your job will be to guide and perhaps give a definition of a word not yet learned like perimeter. The children are encouraged to complete the 1 and 2 star problems, and to try the 3 and 4 stars. So, as you can see, there is a lot to accomplish and enjoy this school year.

     Spelling: You can find the spelling words under Spelling Words on my website. Spelling tests are given each Friday.

     Cursive Writing: The children will learn the lowercase and uppercase cursive letters. They will use only cursive writing by the end of October.

      English: Daily Oral Language:  The students apply capitalization and punctuation rules that they have learned in this activity. Each morning the children complete two analogies and correct two sentences that have been written incorrectly on the Promethean board. The students enjoy these opening activities, and I feel that they are learning a great deal from these short lessons. We use the Houghton Mifflin Series to learn how to write. We will work on paragraph writing, writing a friendly letter, addressing an envelope, writing about you, writing a book report etc. We will study dictionary and library skills, and we will work on grammar, correct usage, and mechanics.

      Phonics: We will use the Houghton Mifflin program.

      Writer-in-Residence: This year the children will have the opportunity to do a week-long workshop with the highly acclaimed North Carolina Writer in Residence and National Hollerin' Champion, Tony Peacock. He will show the students writing strategies that will help to improve their written language skills. This workshop will take place at the end of January.

      In addition to addressing the normal curriculum, I try to incorporate our faith into each subject area as much as possible. For example, in computer class the students choose a saint to write about and use special icons to paint their saints’ symbols.

      We read about and discuss one saint each day using the Church's Calendar. The children will learn the following prayers this year: The Morning Offering, The Confiteor, Apostles' Creed, Psalm 23, and prayer to St. Michael, the Archangel. And lastly, each week they will memorize one Bible verse and then try to incorporate that message into their daily lives.

     Science: This is our second year with this wonderful new Science System, LabLearner™. This is a 100% research-based, comprehensive, hands-on science education program. The children love this hands-on approach to science as it relates science to real life.   LabLearner aims to promote interaction and experimentation in a laboratory setting to encourage diverse learning and thinking strategies, fostering a community atmosphere of learning! We will use the scientific process each time that we conduct our weekly investigations and document our findings in 5 Lablearner student workbooks.

      Social Studies: Our book, Communities, compares communities from the past and present. Students will learn to use different kinds of maps. They will measure distances using a map scale. We will read short biographies of American Heroes such as Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Benjamin Franklin, and Amelia Earhart. In the last quarter, we will have a 50 states competition. In this unit, the children will learn to locate each state, give its capital and abbreviation, and answer one trivia fact for each state.

      PE: PE is held every week. PE uniforms and tennis shoes must be worn to school on this day. Adhering to proper gym dress is greatly appreciated. If you have any other questions concerning school policy on this, please refer to the handbook.

      Promethean ACTIVboard: This is our 2nd year with this wonderful brand new touch screen technology. By the end of last year, many of the children used the ACTIVboard to do PowerPoint presentations, Jeopardy games, Animotos, or Kahoot it! that they had developed at home. The Promethean Activclassroom provides opportunities for the children to expand their knowledge base by using many of the 22,000 + software applications to delve more deeply into the subjects we are studying.

      The software that is used with the ACTIVboard has applications for counting money, telling time, developing map skills, using graphic organizers for writing, and much more. It also serves as a huge TV screen for watching educational DVDs. Children can take an online field trip to a museum, fly over the Mississippi using Google Earth, or see a microscopic view of a meteorite chip! This innovative technology is a powerful interactive tool that can touch every student's learning style, whether they are visual, tactile, or auditory learners.

     Store: Another classroom activity that you are sure to hear about is STORE. Students earn fake coins during the day and add the coins to trade in at our classroom store. Students add money amounts up to five dollars which is a great way to reinforce money concepts learned in 3rd grade.

      Behavior Management: Classroom rules are posted. The Golden Rule is our motto. A check system is used to record behavior grades. 0-2 checks per week is A behavior, 3-5 is a B, 6-8 is a C, 9-11 is a D, and anything beyond that is unacceptable. Students receiving an A for the week get an extra recess period on Fridays! A weekly grade for your child will be sent home each week in the Monday folder.

       I am sure that working together as a team will bring out the best in your child. Again, I look forward to a wonderful year and thank you again for ALL you do. I pray that God will bless us with wisdom and patience to help your child grow spiritually, emotionally, and academically.





Chris Brennan