Dear Parents,

Welcome to 3rd  Grade!  There are so many new changes this year in our school and our classroom!  I am so thrilled to be teaching 3rd Grade for my 1st  year! 


There will be many “different” new ideas, philosophies, techniques, etc. so I want you to be informed about these and feel that you are an incredibly vital partner in your child’s education this year.  

 Reading/Writing:  Since I am relatively new to 3rd  Grade, I have been doing A LOT of professional reading, conferencing with master teachers, researching and attending professional conferences.  As I am looking forward to this 1st day of school, I do feel prepared and so excited for our new adventure together! 

Reading will take on a slightly different look.  I have been reading a professional book entitled, “The Reading Zone” by Nancie Atwell.  Nancie is a reading teacher in Maine in a school that is not much bigger than ours.   She has used her two decades of teaching experience to build the case that frequent, voluminous reading is the key to developing skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers.  Research, test scores and leading authorities agree!  I have actually observed this reading strategy in place in a local classroom!  AMAZING!  The students are advanced writers and voracious readers, because they can choose their books, are given time to read, have help in choosing books through adult help, student and teacher book talks, etc.  Writing is a very important component of The Reading Zone.  Lessons on writing will be modeled 1st before a student is asked to write independently.  Writing workshops will include the 6 Traits of Writing and Step Up to Writing programs.  Assessments will begin by compiling a portfolio that contains examples of their work, self-evaluations and one on one conferencing with me.  I know your child will learn to love to read and enjoy the ZONE that reading can take you!  We also use Harcourt Reading as our basal. 


Behavior:  I will be using some Whole Brain Learning techniques in our classroom.  Our classroom rules come from this program.  We have 5 rules.  They are …

1.     Follow directions quickly.

2.    Raise your hand for permission to speak.

3.    Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.

4.    Make smart choices.

5.    Keep your dear teacher HAPPY!  (Love this rule! J)

These rules are reviewed with gestures.  The movements activate the motor cortex of the brain, the most powerful area for creating and retaining memories.  Plus, the actions are fun!

I will be using these 7 teaching techniques…

1.    Class –Yes:  An attention getter that activates the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the brain’s boss.  I say “Class”, they respond with “Yes”.  (Happily and enthusiastically-of course! J)

2.    Teach-Okay:  Research shows that students learn the most when they are involved in teaching each other.  I say “Teach, Okay”, students use gestures to tell what they just learned to a partner.

3.    The 5 Classroom Rules as stated above.

4.    The Scoreboard:  Highly motivational, this is our reward system for our classroom.  A smiley face and frowny face are on the board.  When the class does something great, we say “Mighty Oh Yeah” and get a tally mark.  If class does something negative, we say “Mighty Groan” and get a tally mark.  We work as a class, not individually toward a goal.

5.    Hands and Eyes:  When there is an important point, students need to focus intensely on what is being said or read.  When I say “Hands and Eyes”, the class folds their hands in their laps and stares intently at the teacher as if they can’t wait to hear what I am going to say. 

6.    Switch:  Some students talk easily, while others are passive listeners.  When using “Switch”, roles are reversed.

7.    Mirror:  Students copy the teacher’s actions and words.

Now, I do have additional behavioral management techniques that will be used to promote positive choices. We have incorporated Classroom Dojo in our elementary program again this year.  As you may remember, this is a very powerful incentive tool to help students monitor their behaviors throughout the day.  You will receive a code to link to our class through your cell phone text message or email.  I would like this to be my primary communication with you please.  All of our fun messages, photos and reminders will be delivered to you through Dojo.  Students also earn points each day for demonstrating positive behaviors and sometimes they can lose points for demonstrating a behavior that would need improvement.  Each student will earn points for class rewards.  We work on classroom total points for classroom goals and rewards!   J Mighty Oh Yeah!!!


Common Core Standards:  We are continuing with our new math series that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  It is called Go Math and features the use of technology as a main component of the program.  Our 2nd-8th Grades are using one to one technology which means that each student has their own Ipad!  Ipads and Google Apps for Education are incorporated daily.  Students will have access to Microsoft Office apps and school purchased IOS apps as well.  This helps our school curriculum align to the Common Core State Standards.

Recess:  Our elementary goes outside for recesses.  A child will need a note from a Doctor if they are not able to go outside. 

Homework:  I do not assign or believe in extra homework.  I only give students independent work to be done in class with the exception of Tuesday.  Work has gone home in the past, if students did not finish in class.  Tuesdays will be the same as last year…students will work on comprehension questions from the story they read.  I have incorporated a Study Hall for 20 minutes into our afternoon schedule.  That way I can help students who do have some work left to finish and need extra time.  If your child does NOT have any work to be finished at home, I would like to ask that they read for 20 minutes that night and/or work on math facts.  We will be starting multiplication this year and this is a skill that will need mastery for each child to be proficient and successful.  I would recommend purchasing a set of multiplication flash cards to keep at home for playing games with.  I will be sending home a list of ideas to help keep math fact practice fun! 


  I am looking forward to a terrific year and I am very excited to be teaching these awesome 3rd Graders!  As always, please call or text me if you have questions or concerns!  But if you can, please use Dojo as much as possible for questions and concerns and sharing information!  366-1191 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


                                          It’s going to be a GREAT year!

                             Ms. Heilig