Friday, December 11, 2015

Circle Letter 12/12/15

Dear Families,
Big round of applause to our Thursday night concert performers.!!  Great songs and music!  What an incredible turn out!  We sure hope you enjoyed the show… the singing, the readings and especially the ukuleles!  Woohoo let’s hear it for the Hokey Pokey. Thank you for coming out and sharing the evening with our Mitchell School kiddos.
Our class has worked well on a variety of projects this week… a new weather unit, persuasive commercial writing, nonfiction text feature hunting, but the best one being our classroom door decorating.  Swing by and check it out.  We also said farewell to Clara… we will miss her!
At long last the Report Card will be placed inside the portfolio, which will be coming home on Monday. We hope you find the portfolio informative and interesting. Lots of “evidence” of learning, thinking, working, and creating. Please take time to go through it with you child!
We will have a small holiday celebration the afternoon of 12/23 in our classroom.  We are asking for each student to bring in a small classroom “supply gift” for the kids to use in the classroom in 2016.  Items like fine tip dry erase markers, Sharpie markers, art supplies, glue sticks, glitter, pencils, erasers, soft tissues, paper towels, books, cards, stickers, a read aloud coupon from a parent, big snack bag to share etc… Please wrap/bag the gift, as we do a pass-a-long game for an unknown person to open. Lastly, we would love to have some holiday fruit and homemade treats to offer to the kids for that Wednesday afternoon. Interested??!  Please send in a note or an e.mail in anyway you might be able to help. And as always, thank you for your support! And thanks also for participating in our Rice Public Library fundraising… we collected $62.00 and will present it to our awesome library this weekend!                          Enjoy the weekend…

Ms. Lantz’s Class
Upcoming Holiday Events
Volunteers and/or Contributions

*Grade 3-winter solstice celebration 12/23, 8:45 – 10:30
Volunteers needed

Donations needed:
bag of birdseed needed
sandwich baggies

*Holiday Party 12/23
Fruit (Clementine’s)
homemade holiday treats contributions.   (Peanut free)
Holiday small plates

*Small classroom supply gift,
wrapped, that the class can use in the New Year.
See Circle Letter for suggestions.
Gift exchange on 12/23.

Please send an e.mail or a note if interested in

 helping in anyway

Circle Letter 12/04/15

Dear Families,
            Welcome back after our Thanksgiving Holiday It sure was nice to see the kids again after our long break. And we have had a great week together… busy doing a variety of different things… persuading, non-fiction reading, multiplication, and beginning our annual  “holiday door decorating”. J  We also started the week with an unexpected surprise.  Our Kittery Rotary Club came to Mitchell and presented a dictionary to each and every third grade student, with the hopes it will help promote a life long love of words and learning.  They come home today…!
            Our introduction to persuasive writing has taken on a community twist.  You will hear all about it in a “speech” your child has written.  Please find time over the weekend to listen and mull the idea over.  We thank you in advance for your support!   And in reading we have moved into a nonfiction genre study.  In addition to picking great informative books on a variety of topics (animals, space, Titanic, Roman Life…!)  we will also be having conversation about growing our minds and perceptions. 
                        Our classroom door, along with many doors here at Mitchell, will begin being decked out in winter creativity, as part of a Mitchell School Spirit activity.  There is nothing to report out as of yet, but again stay tuned by next week we should have a clear vision of our theme.
                        The Report Card and Portfolio will be coming home soon and so we are taking time to be reflective learners as “evidence” is put into the portfolio.  And on Thursday I completed the fall formal reading assessment. This allows for an extended amount of one on one uninterrupted reading time together.  I really appreciate and enjoy this opportunity. It’s a great class we have!

            And Ollie’s dad is coming in today for our first “Awesome Parent Job” presentation.  Be sure to learn more about it from your kiddo

Circle Letter 11/20/15

Dear Families,
            Wow, what a wonderful turn out for our Grandparent luncheon.  There were over 100 visiting grandparents!  And a big shout out to Jackie and the kitchen staff who prepared the luncheon and clean up… without a working dishwasher.  Yikes!
            It has been a fun week filled with many opportunities for small group work. In math we continue working on different 3 digit addition and subtraction problems, as well as data, graphing and analyzing results.  I am observing that some students are not fluent (automatic) with their basic facts. We continue (occasionally) to do math games and activities to help practice the facts.  It would be great if your kiddo would practice both addition and multiplication facts and/or play math games over Thanksgiving break. Look in red folder for suggestions… and remember the Everyday Math on-line games.  There are some good ones.
            This week in writing students are sharing their final copies of Personal Narratives!  It has been wonderful to listen to each story and receive positive feedback from the audience.  And lucky you…!  The stories are coming home for you to hear too.  Please fill out the comment sheet that is included and afterwards return both story and response to put into student portfolio.    Our next writing unit is persuasive writing. This will be a great opportunity to grow opinions and beliefs .

            We are also wrapping up our study of the human body.  After a fairly in-depth study of the digestive system, this week we broke up into small group research teams to learn about another body system.  Each team presented their findings to the class.  Get the scoop from your kiddo.  And… Happy Thanksgiving to you all.   I hope the food will be delicious and plentiful !

Circle Letter 11/13/15

Dear Families,
 Happy Friday the 13th…!  Although not generally suspicious of things we, as a class, are on the look out for any unusual-out-of –the-normal happenings for today.  We shall keep you posted.
It was a real treat to have a mid-week Veteran’s Day break.  It has certainly made for a fast week… but also a productive one!  Especially during writer’s workshop time.  I am so pleased to share that all of our writer’s have now begun typing the final draft of their personal narrative.  Everyone has gone through most of the stages of writing: drafting, drafting and drafting… revising, editing, revising some more, crafting a catchy lead and a clever ending…!  Wow, it’s a lot of work and time and effort.  Watching each writer take pride in one of the last stages of writing…. typing… is quite meaningful. Big round of applause to our writers!  
It has also been an interesting week with our math work.  As you have seen from the home links, we are working on multi digit addition and subtraction. EveryDay Math teaches a variety of methods. (Perhaps your student had to teach you a method…) I encourage our students to try all of the methods being introduced.  However, in the end rest assure, that each student will choose the methods that work best for him or her.  We will continue this work into next week.

And a shout out to Ginnifer and Evin, who were selected to be “Color Guards” at the Veteran’s Day recognition on Monday morning.  The morning was beautifully sunny and crisp, as we all gathered in our front circle to pay tribute to Veterans. Looking ahead, we have a full week together before the Thanksgiving holiday.  And FYI: Book Orders are due next week…!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Circle Letter 11/06/2015

November 6, 2015

         Dear Families,
               Happy November… (already?!) We started our week with some voting and a little discussion about the voting process.  Our vote was focused around preserving land in town for wildlife or developing it for families to build new energy efficient homes. It prompted interesting conversations…! Check in to see what won.
         Another thing that has prompted interesting conversation is a read aloud called The Secrets of the Stomach.  The book taught us many things about how the stomach works… and how scientists made their observations and claims hundreds of years ago before advanced technology helped to answer questions.  Be sure to talk further with your child to learn more…!  On Thursday students met in small groups to ponder why our stomach acid that digests our foods doesn’t also digest our stomach walls.  Interesting question… Gosh, the human body is an amazing system.
And our read aloud Danny, The Champion of the World is certainly coming to a climax.  Thursday’s reading revealed just why Danny is considered a champion… and yet the story is not over.  We are wondering if Roald Dahl has any surprises up his sleeves as we head towards the ending of the book.
And our writer’s are heading towards the conclusion of their second personal narrative drafting.  Soon we will use the laptops to type a final copy.  (big undertaking…!) Next week we will need typing help...!  Interested… and available?  Send Ms. Lantz an e.mail!

       Lastly, we will “kick off” Veteran’s Day with a recognition assembly Monday morning. It is a great opportunity to see how many Mitchell students come from military families. Lots and lots…!  FYI: No school Wednesday! 11/11

Friday, October 30, 2015

Circle Letter 10/30/2015

October 30, 2015      

Dear Families,
A Happy Halloween wish to all of you.  Tonight certainly sounds trick-or-treat-fun-filled… lots of good times and delicious candy too. Don’t forget the Portsmouth Parade tomorrow night as well…!  The kids will have a lot to write about after their trick or treating experiences, no doubt! 
        The Grade 3 fall festival was a good time and certainly a nice break from all of the classroom work. We rotated through a variety of activities… Get the scoop from your kiddo!. And of course a big thank you to the families who were able to provide contributions for this grade level activity… and to those moms who were able to come in and volunteer.  We appreciate all the support.
       Our class took Unit 2 math assessment on Wednesday and on Thursday students made corrections as needed while reflecting on their skills.  This test will be placed into student portfolios and come home with the report card in early December.
       We have begun our studies of the Human Body, and the Digestive System specifically.  It has been an interesting few days with observation and inquiry… as we study the parts of the mouth and discuss how the parts interact and function.  Be sure to ask your kiddo about how these parts, including your nose, work together.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Circle Letter 10/23/15

Dear Families,
         Greetings! We now call our three ring binders (brought in on the start of school) the Portfolio.  It is a place to showcase a variety of work samples from all of our units of studies.  We have begun putting work into our portfolios for we have “wrapped up” our Earth and Geography studies and are moving on to the study of the Human Body. 
         As we introduce this investigative unit we start with thinking about systems in general and the individual parts that interact together to help the system function for a specific purpose. We had fun looking at a variety of “systems” … (mostly from my kitchen drawers…!) to demonstrate this point.  Be sure to inquire further with your student.
         We are at an exciting place with our personal narrative “small moment’ writing. The class is mostly done with one draft, having gone through many steps of the writing process.  We will now put that draft to the side and begin an entirely new narrative using all the many things we learned along the way.  It might be helpful to have your child practice their “story telling” with you.  You could help them with when to add flare and emotion at just the right moments.

         Our first round of conferences began this week and it has been a pleasure to sit and connect with many of you about your child.  Although it makes for a long workday, I find it so meaningful and enjoyable to talk together. Next Tuesday we will resume conferencing.  And please note, next Friday, October 30th, we are having our grade level Fall Festival. Thank you in advance for supporting this event by volunteering or contributing an item or two on sign-up genius.  The event will be from 8:30 – 10:30. IT promises to be a nice break from the regular routine of things! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Circle Letter 10/16/15

October 16, 2015
               Dear Families,
Wow… two 4-day weeks back to back make the school days all the more busy trying squeeze it all in!  And, we also dropped everything Wednesday morning as we were treated to a fabulous school assembly called  Food Play… great performing and music as well as important information about the foods we eat.  Be sure to get the scoop from your child, if you haven’t already…!
              Last week we finished our first read aloud book, Poppy.  The conclusion was loaded with action and wrapped up the lingering conflicts well.  (Again, get the scoop from your kiddo…)  Read aloud offers great opportunity for whole class book discussions, predictions, wonderings, questioning ideas and character motives… all great skills that can be transferred directly to students’ own reading and books.  This week we began our “Character Unit” studies.  Our focus will be stepping into the “shoes” of the main characters to better understand their motives and thinking.  Our new read aloud, Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl, will lend a hand with this work as well.  And a big round of applause goes to our writers this week… students continue to work on their personal narratives  many are finishing up first draft as others are beginning to revise and elaborate upon “the heart of the story.”  Good work… hard work too!

       Lastly, as most of you know, our fall parent/teacher conferences are coming up. Thank you for signing up on-line. We only have about 15 minutes to conference so please come prepared with your questions, observations and curiosity….!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Circle Letter 10/2/15

October 2, 2015

Dear Families,
              It has been a wonderful beginning to October and a fast week for us here at school.  Thursday was a busy day with Picture Day in the morning and a visit from The Cromwell Center late morning to lead a discussion and get us thinking about people with disabilities.  Today should be fun as students begin phase 1… the paper mache part, of our Earth globes.   Thanks to the parent volunteers who came in to help….  Projects like these are much more fun with many hands helping out!  Next week we will do phase 2… placement of continents and labeling. 
       In Math students have just taken the end of unit 1 assessment.  Today students will spend the class pondering an Open Response question before we move on to Unit 2.  Typically I hold on to the math assessments until the end of the trimester.  They will go into each student’s portfolio (3 ringed binder) and come home with the report card.  If you are curious and want to see an assessment before that, just let me know and it can travel home in the red folder.
       We continue to build and talk about good life long reading habits during our Reading Workshop time.   Lots of thought into choosing books that interest us as readers, how to picture the story like a movie in our minds, and the importance of reading wide awake and alert.  Our read aloud, Poppy, continues to offer great opportunity to talk and share our thinking about the plot, character motives, problems and possible solutions.  The book talks continue to be lively and interesting. 

                     Lastly, next week is Fire Prevention Week.  Our class will walk down to the fire station on Tuesday afternoon for review of fire safety and to check out those awesome fire trucks!  Hats off to our volunteer firemen!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Circle Letter 9/25/15

September 25, 2015

Dear Families,
       It’s been a great week together! Our daily morning writing workshop has really taken off.  This is a class that likes to write and story tell.  In this first unit of writing the focus is on writing true small moment stories. or Personal Narratives. This week we have been practicing using dialogue, as well as noticing the difference between just reporting out information and rich and vivid story telling.  Mentor books have been helping to demonstrate the sort of writing we are after.  It’s hard!
       Be on the lookout each week (Mondays) for a new list of Spelling Words. The words are taken from the previous Friday Spelling Review. It is up to each student to practice mastering the spelling words using the Word Work Menu for ideas.  If a student has only a few or no spelling words to practice that week then content related Vocabulary Words will come home.   Parents please help out with quizzing them on the words and/or doing creative word games.  It makes a big difference.  Thanks in advance for the yearlong support.
            This week has been Maine Harvest Week for our lunch program.  Our class helped out the kitchen workers on Monday by husking locally grown corn for the whole school to enjoy at lunch. Wow… that’s a lot of corn! Also our class did morning announcements all week…! FunJ  Get the scoop from your kiddo. And we are getting very good with our class and school fire drill procedures when the loud, attention-getting alarm goes off. Lots of practice this week.
            Upcoming dates to remember:  Picture Day is next Thursday and Fall Parent/Teacher conference dates are 10/21 and 10/27.  I’ll have an on-line sign up for conferences in October. 

            Enjoy the weekend with your family…!      Best regards~

Friday, September 18, 2015

Circle Letter 9/18/15

September 18, 2015

Dear Families,
       Our first full week together has been great!  Students are doing well with the new routines, remembering red folder and completing the weekly homework assignments. We start our mornings in circle with a handshake greeting and everyone is getting comfortable with student names. This is important in fostering a supportive, caring classroom climate.
       We have started lots of things this week… word work, writing workshop (a personal narrative unit) read aloud (get the scoop from your kiddo…) reading workshop and even a little geography Continent review.  The day’s schedule is becoming familiar to the kids.  Our first math unit has been review of second grade concepts, as you can see from the weekly homelinks coming home.  In computer on Thursday each student logged onto the EveryDay Math on-line site.  Passwords will come home so students can use this at home.  There are interesting tools and games, as well as access to the Student Reference Book (SRB) which is a good resource when doing homework.  You will find the site via the Mitchell Student Links on our web site.
Our Helping Hands” job-board has been colorfully designed, thanks to the help of  Makili’s Mom! Each week new jobs are assigned.  Some of the jobs require a bit of at-home work and planning, but most are jobs that help the class run more smoothly while getting everyone involved.  Be sure to check in with your student to see what job they had this week.

And lastly, don’t forget about the PTA sponsored four-mile road race Sunday at Fort Foster.   Race time starts at 8:30.  It is a great fundraiser for our fantastic PTA. The money they earn is directly spent on opportunities for Mitchell School Kids!              Enjoy the weekend~

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Circle Letter 9/10/15

September, 10 2015

Dear Families,
Greetings and welcome officially to Third Grade! It has been a really nice start to the school year as we get to know our new classmates and new classroom routines.  The kids get an A for effort with their welcoming spirits and eagerness to make new classmate friends. Yes, it promises to be a wonderful year of learning.
This is the format of a weekly letter called the Circle Letter.  Each Friday I will write to you highlighting the week’s events and informing you on upcoming activities.  Your child will also write a letter to you about school topics.  Each weekend please set aside some time to write a letter back to your child in the notebook.  Your child will then start the school week reading a personal (and sweet!) letter from you.  This is a year long activity that I hope you will discover becomes quite meaningful and informative. Your participation in this is critical and I would like to thank you in advance for your support.
                          A few initial bits of information….
1) The red home –school folder will come home each night and should be returned each morning.  Thank you for helping to build good habits with this routine right from the start.
          2) Inside the home-school folder will be a weekly assignment sheet and homework for the week.  Typically, there is nightly reading, math and word work assignments.  I try to hand out most homework on Mondays/Wednesdays to help with time management at home.  We will slowly ease into homework beginning next week. 
3) Our special schedule is the following:
Monday- Art,   Tuesday –Library,  Wednesday – P.E,  Thursday- Computer,    Friday – Music
         4) We have a morning snack at 10:30 after a morning fresh air break.  It is important to have some healthy hearty food as lunch is not until 1:05.  Snack milk is also available for purchase.
         We are off to a great start.  I look forward to an exciting year together.  If you should want to contact me, my e.mail is: or call the school at 439-1707.                          

                           Best Regards~