Third Grade Happenings August 20, 2019

    ephilson@stlouisschools.net 681-5153, home 681-5131, school

    Open House 


    Thank you for attending tonight’s Open House.  Please take time to read the information in this newsletter.  I will also send it to parents via email.    


    Meet Your Teacher


    Dear Parents,


    It is my pleasure to welcome you to third grade

    and to Nikkari Elementary.  Hopefully, you received a letter recently from the school.  If not please let me know so that I can update my records and mail a copy to you.

    I am sure you have many questions concerning your child’s education.  I will attempt to answer your questions in this newsletter. However, my home phone is printed at the top of this newsletter.  Please feel free to call me if you have any questions. Let me begin by introducing myself to you.

    My name is Beth Philson.  I am beginning my 25th teaching year at Nikkari Elementary.  I have taught second and third grades. I graduated from Western Michigan University in 1995.  In 2004, I graduated from Central Michigan University with a Master’s degree focusing on Reading.  I am from Coldwater, Michigan where most of my family still lives.  

    I travel to Coldwater often to see my family.  My family consists of two brothers and their wives, seven nieces and nephews. Ivan, Hank, Molli and Maci are my great nieces and nephews. I love spending time with the babies.  I also have the honor of helping my Mom in her golden years. Being a caregiver for a parent will require me to be out of the classroom for doctor appointments. I try my best to be at school each day. 

    It is my joy and privilege to be your child’s teacher.


    GO BRONCOS!!!!


    ABCs of 3rd Grade


    ABSENCES   Much of our learning takes place together in class. We do lots of hands-on activities and group work. Please plan to attend school every day, except in cases of illness or emergencies. If your child will be absent, please call Nikkari at 681-5131.  

    ARRIVAL at school begins at 7:15 am, although the bell doesn't ring until 7:50 am. Students can eat a FREE breakfast and/or go outside for recess.  


    BATHROOM POLICY   Students may use the facilities during the following times:  before school, during class warm-up, morning break, before lunch, after lunch recess, afternoon break and any time we are walking past the bathrooms.  During class time, one boy and one girl may be gone from the classroom to use the bathroom.

    BREAKFAST   Did you know that Nikkari Elementary provides free breakfast to all students? If your child would like a bite to eat in the morning, please have them arrive in the cafeteria by 7:40am.

    BIRTHDAYS   If you would like to send a treat with your child on or near his/her birthday, please feel free to do so. These treats will be eaten during our snack time or after lunch. If your child has a summer birthday, you may send in treats on his/her “half-birthday.”  Currently, I am unaware of any food allergies. I will update parents in the next newsletter. Nikkari is a peanut free school. Please do not send in any food made with peanut products.

    BOOK ORDER FORMS will be sent home for you and your child to look over every month or two. Book clubs offer fantastic deals! Checks should be made payable to SCHOLASTIC.


    CLASSMATES Currently, we have 28 students in our classroom.  Fourteen are girls. Fourteen are boys.


    COMMUNICATION  There are several ways in which we can communicate.  The parent survey allows parents to tell me which communication mode is best for them.  Our class has a newsletter called the Philson Gazette.  It comes out at least monthly.  Our classroom has a computer and my email address is ephilson@stlouisschools.net.  I check my email daily.  The school phone is 681-5131 and my home phone is 681-5153.  Our school also has a web page, www.stlouisschools.net.  

    CONFERENCES are held in the fall, specifically November 4th and 7th.  Watch for information and reply accordingly. I am also available to schedule a conference as needed.  Email me at ephilson@stlouisschools.net, call the school at 681-5131 or call my home at 681-5153 to set up a time to meet.   

    DISMISSAL   First wave bus riders are dismissed at 3:05 pm, while car riders/pick ups are dismissed next about 3:07pm.  Second wave bus riders and walkers will be in the gym about 3:15pm. If there are any changes in home transportation, a note from home is required.  Please call the school by 12:30 pm for any dismissal changes.

    EMERGENCY CARDS should be on file in the office. If your address, or any of your phone numbers change, please inform the office (and me!) as soon as possible.

    EMAIL is my preferred method of communication because of the quick turn-around. If you have an email address that you check regularly, please provide it to me to maximize our communication.

    FIELD TRIPS   St. Louis Schools provides transportation for one big field trip annually.  The St. Louis PTO provides $600.00 toward field trip costs. The 3rd grade team has secured a date to visit the Capitol and Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing on October 23, 2019.  


    GUM POLICY   Students are allowed to chew gum in this classroom.  However, if I see it (blowing bubbles, playing with it) or hear it (cracking and snapping) then students will spit it out.  If gum is found on the NEW carpet, under the NEW chairs or under the NEW desks then this policy is void and no gum will be allowed in this classroom at all.  Students are not allowed gum in Music or Physical Education classes.


    GRADING: Students will be assessed using letter grades this year based on their performance in math, reading, writing, spelling, penmanship, science, and social studies, as well as the special areas (Music and PE).  The district grading scale is as follows:


    100% - 93% A

     92% - 90% A-

     89% - 87% B+

     86% - 83% B

     82% - 80% B-

     79% - 77% C+

     76% - 73% C

     72% - 70% C-

     69% - 67% D+

     66% - 63% D

     62% - 60% D-

     59% and lower E


    HOMEWORK   Students will have spelling homework on Mondays.  Math homework will be sent home on Wednesdays. It is expected back at school the next day.   Parents can circle any problems their child had a hard time completing or understanding. A circled problem tells me that I need to reteach a concept to our student(s).  

    INCENTIVES   We all know that the offer of classroom incentives can be a fun way to help motivate students to succeed. Students will be earning positive behavior rewards throughout the school year.  Examples of positive rewards are verbal praise, special treats, extra recess, game day, birthday party, positive notes/phone calls, extra art, extra-long break, picnic lunch, fun video, quiet ball, free time on the Chromebooks and puzzles.

    INDEPENDENCE is a goal for students because it builds self-esteem and self-confidence. Third graders are very capable of doing many things on their own and I encourage them to do as much as they can for themselves in the classroom. Please encourage them to think through and problem-solve in everyday situations. 

    KEEP INFORMED by reading our Nikkari newsletter (from Mr. Binder), Philson Gazette (classroom newsletter) and the daily work.  Students will bring home their mail on Mondays and Wednesdays.

    LUNCH takes place at 11:25 am - 12:15 pm. For the second year, all St. Louis Students can eat breakfast and lunch for free!  You are more than welcome to join your child and their friends for lunch in the cafeteria.


    M-STEP  Third graders will participate in the Michigan Student Testing of Educational Progress (M-STEP).  The M-STEP continues to go through changes. The M-STEP testing window is scheduled for May 4th through May 29, 2020.  Students will be assessed over concepts learned in second and third grade.

    NEWSLETTERS  Our class has a newsletter called the Philson Gazette.  It comes out at least monthly.  I will email it to you, as well. Important information is always included, so please read it carefully. 


    NIKKARI STAFF  The following people will be working with your child sometime this school year.


    Mr. Binder Principal 

    Mrs. Lawhorne Music Teacher

    Mrs. Hammond Physical Education Teacher

    Mrs. Hanson-Bender Social Emotional Teacher

    Mrs. Plont Title I Teacher 

    Mrs. Kelly Title I Aide

    Mrs. McCarver Title I Aide

    Miss Martin Special Education Aide

    Miss Hamilton Lunch/Playground Supervision

    Mrs. Peterson Administrative Assistant

    Mrs. Brecht School Clerk

    Mrs. Otto School Nurse


    PARENT SURVEY   In your back to school paperwork there was a parent survey.  Please complete and return it to school as soon as possible. It will provide valuable information about your child.  Thank you for taking time to complete the parent survey. I look forward to reading your comments. It will help me know your child.

    Physical Education Students must wear sneakers on PE days.  I will create a calendar parents can check which days are Physical Education, Music or LifeSkills.  On non-PE days, we go outside for recess, so if your child likes to run or play on the playground equipment, it would be beneficial for them to wear sneakers daily. 


    PTO INFORMATION   The Parent Teacher Organization will meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month at Carrie Knause Elementary or Nikkari Elementary at 3:30 pm.

    QUESTIONS: Instead of asking your child, “What did you do in school today?” ask, “What book did you read during independent reading?” or “What did you learn in math?” or “Tell me what you wrote about during Writing Workshop!” Show that you’re interested, and ask specific questions. Most likely, your child will respond positively and more openly.

    REPORT CARDS will be sent home every nine weeks. Progress report cards are also mailed home.  Please see the district calendar for specific dates.  


    SAFETY ISSUES  My first priority is to keep your child safe.  Our classroom rules and discipline plan will be discussed in August and copies will go home to parents on the first day of school.  Another way I can keep your child safe is a closed and locked classroom door. In our classroom students will keep shoes on their feet at all times.  You never know when we will have a fire drill. Please let me know at any time if your child does not feel safe at Nikkari Elementary.    


    SNACK   Our class will take a 15-minute break in the morning and a 10-minute break in the afternoon.  It is a time to stretch our legs, socialize with each other, use the bathroom and get a drink.  Students will be able to refill their own water bottles easily with filtered water from the new fountains.  Students will be able to eat a small, healthy snack at this time brought from home.


    SUPPLIES   St. Louis Public Schools continues to provide everyday school supplies for each student.  The 3rd grade suggested supply list was mailed to families with the welcome letter.  I will make sure each student has the supplies they need to be successful in third grade.  I have very generous families. A huge thank you to my families for donating school supplies like Kleenex and paper supplies for our classroom.  We will be using some of the supplies for science experiments. Before lunch each day we are trying to remember to wash our hands using the hand sanitizer.  Again I appreciate all parents helping to keep our classroom stocked up!

    TARDIES   If your child arrives at school after the bell rings at 7:50 am, a parent or guardian is required to walk him/her to the office to sign in. This is for the safety of your child.

    UNIQUE   Each student in my classroom is unique. I will do my best to differentiate instruction to ensure that all children get what they need to be successful in third grade.

    VOLUNTEERS and VISITORS are welcome! There are many opportunities for you to be involved in the classroom this year. Be on the lookout for upcoming info. When you arrive at school to volunteer or visit, please register in the office and pick up a badge instead of coming directly to the classroom. This policy is for the safety of your children.  All volunteers must complete a background check.

    WATER BOTTLES    Please feel free to have your child bring a water bottle to class. 

    It is EXTRAORDINARILY important for your child to have a successful third grade YEAR. I will do my best to make learning fun and exciting – you can expect a lot of growth in so many different areas. It will seem as if the 2019-2020 school year will ZOOM by.

    Assertive Discipline Plan


    I believe I have the right to teach and students have the right to learn.  I believe all my students can behave appropriately while in school. In order to guarantee your child, and all the students in my classroom, the excellent learning environment they deserve, I am utilizing the following Assertive Discipline Plan.


    Classroom Rules


    Be Respectful

    Use low voices

    Wait your turn

    Use kind words and actions

    Respect yourself, others and school property.


    Be Responsible

    Follow directions and rules

    Listen carefully

    Take care of your property

    Stay on task

    Return borrowed items

    Give your best effort

    Complete work on time


    Be Safe

    Keep hands, feet, and objects to self

    6 on the floor (two feet and four chair legs)


    Negative Consequences

    First Consequence: Warning name on board

    Second Consequence: Check by name

    Third Consequence: 2 checks by name 5 minute time out

    Fourth Consequence: 3 checks by name 10 minute time out and call home

    Fifth Consequence: 4 checks by name send to principal and call home

    Severe Consequence: send to principal and call home


    Positive Consequences

    Verbal Praise  Special Treats

    Extra Recess Game Day Birthday Party

    Positive Notes/Phone Call Extra Art

    Extra Long Break Picnic Lunch

    Fun Video Quiet Ball Puzzles


    Curriculum Update


    Each issue or weekly letter, I will attempt to summarize what we have been studying.  This information will allow parents to review concepts with their children. It will also help answer the age-old question, “What did you do in school today?”  Students should be able to restate concepts that were learned the previous week. Below is the plan for the next couple of weeks. 


    Cursive: letters l, h, k, t, i, u, e and j.  Students are to self-evaluate their handwriting.  I will ask them to circle their best letters when they complete their daily handwriting sheet.


    Math:  Engage New York is our Math curriculum.  We will begin by reviewing addition concepts and will focus on addition two or more addends up to 1,000.  Students will be working on mastery of addition facts.


    Reading: Our first story is called A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech.  Our target skill is story structure.  See the visual below. 


    Story Map

    Setting:  where the story takes place

    Characters:  the people in the story

    Plot – events that happen in a story




    Problem:  what needs to be fixed in the story

    Solution:  how the problem was fixed


    The target strategy is summarizing. Think of summarizing as stopping and retelling parts of the story in your own words while you are reading.  This strategy helps you remember important events in the story. Students will also be learning about multi meaning words. Grammar will focus on subjects and predicates.  For example, The silly Gramma made the baby laugh.  The silly Gramma is the subject.  The predicate is made the baby laugh.


    Writing:  The class will be working on personal narratives.  To begin this writing process, students will be focusing on writing a descriptive paragraph, for example, describe your favorite place.


    Social Studies: The class will be learning about Michigan this year.  The first chapter is about Michigan symbols and the water around known as the Great Lakes.


    Spelling:  The week of September 3-6, our spelling words will be short vowel words.  Students will have homework on Monday evening. In class, students will practice taking a pre-test.  Students will have a final test on Friday. Our next spelling words will be words with double consonants. The first unit of spelling words will be in the back to school mail.


    Science:  Plants and animals will be our focus.  Students will learn the basic parts of the plant and the function of those parts.


    Technology:  Students will be learning how to use their Chromebooks in all subject areas.  Students will have many passwords to access specific webpages. I will do my best to share these passwords so students can practice their spelling words at home or to work on math fluency.  

    2019-2020  CALENDAR


    This section will be a running calendar of activities within this classroom, within the third grade, Nikkari Elementary and St. Louis Public Schools.  


    2019-2020 Calendar


    August 20 Nikkari Open House


    August 26 First Day of School

    Dismissal at 12:40

    August 30 No School for Staff and Students

    September 2 Labor Day

    No School for Staff and Students

    September 11 Patriot Day

    Wear Red, White and Blue

    September 17 Constitution Day

    September 24 Early Release     Dismissal at 12:40

    Sept. 30-Oct. 4 Homecoming Week

    October 1 Shark Run/Walk 

    October 3 School Pictures in the Morning

    Rain date for Shark Run/Walk

    October 4 Homecoming Parade and Game

    October 11 Mobile Dentist

    October 23 3rd Grade Field Trip to Capitol and Museum in Lansing

    October 31 Halloween Parade   8:30-9:15

    Early Release    Dismissal at 12:40

    November 1 End of 1st Marking Period

    November 3 Daylight Savings: Fall Back

    November 4 Parent Teacher Conferences


    November 7 Parent Teacher Conferences


    November 9 Report Cards Mailed Home

    November 14 Picture retakes

    November 15 No School for Staff and Students

    Deer Day

    November 27 Early Release  Dismissal at 12:40

    November 28-29 No School for Staff and Students

    Thanksgiving Break

    Dec 23-Jan 3 No School for Staff and Students

    Christmas Break

    January 6 Back to School

    January 17 End of 1st Semester

    January 28 Early Release

    Dismissal at 12:40

    February 14 Valentine’s Day Party

    February 17 No School for Staff and Students

    Mid Winter Break  (Snow Day make up if needed)

    February 25 Early Release  Dismissal at 12:40

    March 8 Daylight Savings:  Spring Forward

    March 20 End of 3rd Marking Period

    March 25 Spring Pictures

    March 30-April 3 No School for Staff and Students

    Spring Break

    April 6 Back to School

    April 10 No School for Staff and Students

    Good Friday

    April 18 Early Release  Dismissal at 12:40

    April 21 Early Release    Dismissal at 12:40

    May 4-May 29 3rd and 4th Grade M-STEP Testing Window

    May 19 Early Release    Dismissal at 12:40

    May 21 Graduation  7:00

    May 22 No School for Staff and Students

    (Snow Day Make up if needed)

    May 27 No School for Staff and Students

    Memorial Day

    June 4 Tentative Last Day

    Dismissal at 12:40