Sunday, August 28, 2011

Welcome to Third Grade!

The first week of third grade has come and gone quickly!  I hope your child enjoyed their week as much I did.  

Your child brought home a colored file folder and a red and white First Day Packet (if you did not pick this up at Meet the Teacher) inside their red folder today.  It is filled with a plethora of items requiring your attention.  

Please sign and return:
* the emergency dismissal card
*the paper-clipped items in the colored file folder
* any PTA forms - membership, purchasing T-shirts, etc.
* SERVE forms - if you plan to volunteer or chaperone any field trips
* Supply donations
* Free/reduced lunch forms - if applicable
* the detention letter
* the Internet/video/picture permission form
* the lunchroom rules
* the attendance policy

Thanks for your prompt attention to these matters.  Thank you to most families who've turned in ALL papers!

I feel certain that many of the children will be hungry before lunchtime in the coming days.  It takes a while to readjust to a school schedule.  Our lunch time is from 12:08-12:38, and I imagine that I will need to nibble on a small, healthy snack myself mid-morning. Please tuck a small, healthy snack in your child's backpack if you'd like. Thanks!

  • Parents: :) Please turn in completed forms as soon as possible.  We've asked that you take some time to write to us about your child--be sure it's "In a Million Words or Less"...check the assignment for more details.  (It came home in a manila folder and is due on August 31st. Thank you to those parents who have already completed this assignment!)

Please send in Boxtops for Education anytime.  Hopefully, you've been saving them all summer long.  We have a Box Tops collection box in the room for them.

Thank you to all of those who've sent in all their supplies! We have plenty of paper towels, baggies and hand sanitizer! You guys rock! :)

Here is a suggested supply list for third grade:
• Scissors
• Plastic pocket folders with center clasp (one of each: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple)
• 24 pencils (no mechanical)
• 24 pencil top erasers
• Box of markers, colored pencils, crayons
• Highlighter
• Glue sticks – 3 total
• Four composition books
• Pencil box or pouch
• Wide-ruled notebook paper

Each night your child will bring home their "Communications Folder." which contains everything to help keep them stay organized. This red 3-pronged folder houses our weekly newsletter, homework, and other important information that assists with communication between home and school. They should be taken home and returned to school DAILY. We will begin using our Communications Folders as soon as possible.

This year Early Release Days will take place EVERY Monday. On Early Release Mondays, students eat lunch at school and are dismissed at 1:15pm, instead of 2:15pm. 

Third graders love when their parents come in to read! I have plenty of Fridays available for you to come in as a Mystery Reader. Please email me with dates that you would like to read, and I will check the schedule and confirm with you.  

I love documenting our "practices" and events throughout the year and because I want you to see what goes on in Room 123 (and around Gorrie), I post photographs weekly on our classroom blog, and I sent home a form last week requesting your permission to post these photo on-line. I encourage you to check often to see new pictures! You can even share with relatives that may not live here in Tampa, but still want to keep up-to-date on the happenings of your little super star! :)

Communication is important. Feel free to contact me when you have a question, comment, or concern. You can reach me by email at or write me a note on the Communications Log in the Communications Folder.

Would you like to see something on the class site?  Email me at with your suggestions.  I love suggestions!
Mrs. Robinson 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Meaningful First Week Activities

The first week of school generally consists of getting to know one another, in addition to discussion and practice of classroom procedures and routines. We also got our creative juices flowing by creating summer reflection writing pieces, squiggle stories, and "All About Me" mini-posters. Students are getting to know one another and me, and we are learning to work together to build a successful and positive classroom environment.

On Wednesday, I wrote out six questions, all having to do with how to make our classroom and ourselves function to the highest level, on six pieces of chart paper. Students, in groups of three, spent two minutes at each chart, collaborating and responding to each question on a sticky note. After all groups visited each chart paper station, I hung all of the charts up and we discussed each answer and noticed some very interesting trends. Here's the finished product, which you can click on to enlarge:
Inspired by Life in 4B

To tie into the previous activity, I was inspired by my wonderful teammates, Mrs. Fadden and Ms. Mattox, to develop at class pledge with my students. We reviewed our responses to the above questions, and then we put all of the ideas together to form a cohesive paragraph that we have all agreed will help us to remember why we are here at school and what our common goal is. Below is the rough draft of our class pledge (which I will type up, make pretty, and have all of my students sign):

Since we were able to develop a class goal (to achieve success in third grade), I also had each student determine an individual goal after reading the story Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni. I displayed our "Hopes and Dreams" for third grade near the classroom door, so that we can refer to, and revisit, them throughout the year. Lots of students are interested in learning how to sharpen their cursive skills, multiplication and division skills. I was very impressed by the number of students ready to take on our 40 book challenge! More on that later! Here's our class display of our hopes and dreams for third grade:

Lastly, I read a book called Have You Filled a Bucket Today? The premise is that everyone carries an invisible bucket everywhere they go. When your bucket is "filled" you feel happy.When your bucket is "empty" you feel sad or upset. People can fill buckets by lending a helping hand, smiling, being kind, including others in games, and more. People can empty buckets by teasing, being ungrateful, acting disrespectfully, and more. I encourage my students to recognize the actions of bucket-fillers by writing them quick note and sticking it in their bucket display. This helps make everyone feel good. When we feel good, we want others to feel good. Therefore, kindess is passed from person to person. This is our bucket-filling display, complete with ways we can fill buckets and ways we can empty buckets:

I look forward to more of these types of meaningful activities that promote teamwork, kindness, and achievement with your child!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Meet the Teacher Day: Success!

It was so wonderful meeting my new third grade students and parents today. I was also happy to see so many of my former students and their parents stopping by for a quick hello! I hope my students enjoyed picking out their seats for the first day of school. Since some students have a little bit of anxiety about being in a new grade with a new teacher and new classmates, I thought giving them a little ownership over where they sit would help ease those nervous feelings. Now, whether those new seats will last beyond the first day may be another story once I see the group dynamics!  : )

On every student's desk was the Gorrie First Day Packet (folder). I gave it out in advance so that parents aren't swamped on the actual first day of school, as I plan to send home my own little packet of parent paperwork on Tuesday. I promise that the papers will ease up after the first week! Oh, and there's a little friendly competition between the teachers to have all emergency cards completed, signed, and returned to school first, so please get that emergency card to me as soon as possible! Thank you for your cooperation!

Enjoy the last weekend of summer vacation!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Countdown to the First Day!

Thanks so much for stopping by our classroom blog! Only a few more days until the official start to the 2011-2012 school year! I have been working very hard to get the classroom ready for my new third graders! I hope to use this blog as a tool to communicate our studies, achievements, homework assignments, important dates, etc. to students, family, and friends. I plan to update this site on a regular basis by posting pictures of what the students are working on (with parent permission, of course) and what is going on in our classroom. I look forward to meeting my new friends on Meet The Teacher Day, which is this Friday, August 19th, 2011 immediately following the Info Fair from 12:30-2:00pm. If you would like to bring your school supplies on Meet the Teacher Day, please feel free. It might help to alleviate that first day of school stress. Please take a look around our class blog to learn a little bit more about me and the things we'll be doing this year. You can subscribe to this blog via Google Reader (one of my new favorite tools!), or you can even get new posts sent directly to your email. Hope to see you on Friday!