Welcome to Third Grade
My name is Mrs. Ashley Willis and I am so excited to be your child’s teacher this year!
A little bit about me, this is my third year here at Valley Academy and I am very much looking forward to all that this year in 3rd grade will bring for us! I am a Phoenix native and live here with my husband and 5 year old son, Wyatt. Wyatt is a Kindergarten student here at Valley Academy this year! My hobbies include reading anything and everything I can get my hands on, painting and drawing, playing board games, and enjoying quality time with my family.
I completed my undergraduate studies at Arizona State University and graduated cum laude with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art Education. I completed my Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Grand Canyon University as well. As a certified teacher, I am very passionate about learning both for myself and my students and am dedicated to continuing my own education in order to be the best educator I can be for your child.
I believe that all children are capable of learning and will often exceed our expectations. With a safe and supportive environment to learn in, children can achieve great things. I have high expectations for my students but I know they can, and will, be successful in my class.
Open communication between teachers and parents is very important and I want you to feel comfortable reaching out to me with any questions or concerns. If you need to get in touch with me, please feel free to send a note or leave a message on my voicemail at 623-516-7747 ext. 204. My email is email@example.com and I check this frequently throughout the day. I also like to use the homework planner as a communication tool so please be sure to sign the planner every night as it is part of your child’s homework. It is a great way to see what your child is currently working on as well as to communicate with me.
In the following sections, I would like to familiarize you and your child with our school calendar, due dates, and some of the procedures in the classroom.
623-516-7747 ext. 204
Morning supervision of your child begins promptly at 7:45am, Valley Academy time. If you drop your child off at school any time before 7:45, even if it is just five minutes early, they must go to Coyote Club. (Parents will not get charged from 7:30-7:45am) When the 8:00 bell rings, it is time to line up in our designated line.
Each day will begin with attendance at 8:05 am. Any child who arrives between 8:05 and 8:15 will be marked tardy.
If you drop your child off at 8:15 or later, you will need to take your child to the office to sign in. They cannot get into the classroom without first being signed into the office and must have a pass to enter the class.
If your child is absent, he or she needs to make up the missed work. Your child has one day for each day missed to complete the missed work. If absent two days, the works is due two school days after the day your child returns to school. If the make-up work is not turned in on time, he or she will go to Opportunity Club to complete the work. If your child will have a planned absence, please let me know, and I will try to get the homework papers your child will miss before he/she leaves.
Please make sure your child brings a water bottle to school each day. The bottle should have a pop-up top to avoid spills. Be sure your child’s name is written on it with a permanent marker.
It is very important that you help your child follow the dress code daily. Your child’s dress will be checked each morning. Four dress code violations per grading period will result in an after-school detention. Please check the planner for a complete summary of the dress code expectations.
Lunches (Lunchtime is 11:30 - 12:15.)
Pre-order lunches are available at the beginning of each month. The cost is $3.25. Extra pizza slice tickets are available for $1.50, and milk tickets are 50 cents.
If your child forgets his lunch, the school will provide a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and milk for a fee of $1.00 for you to reimburse.
The homework planners are used by the students to record due dates of long-term projects and daily homework to be done. As the parent, you are to check the planner to see if all homework has been completed and then sign it each night. It is also where you and I have the opportunity to write notes to each other. Planners must go home and come back to school each day. The planner signature counts as a homework assignment. It is expected to be signed Monday – Thursday.
It is the student’s responsibility to record all assignments accurately. It is important that each day you go over the daily assignments with your child and guide him or her in completing them, and that you help you child prepare for the long-term projects.
Class Work/Opportunity Club
All in-class assignments are due at the end of the period. Assignments not turned in at this time need to be done by the end of the day. Opportunity Club is available during lunch for any student with unfinished morning work. All unfinished work will be taken home to be finished, in addition to the homework. Both homework and unfinished class work are due first thing the next school morning.
Homework will be assigned every Monday through Thursday and due every Tuesday through Friday. Your child will record his or her homework in the school supplied planner. It is your child’s responsibility to do the work. If your child does not turn in the homework first thing in the morning, he or she will go to Opportunity Club. Late work will begin grading at a 65%.
Long-term projects, book reports, poems, and studying for tests will sometimes need to be done over the weekend. Late long-term assignments are recorded as a 0% and an afterschool detention will be issued. The work will still be expected to be turned in late for no credit. Planning, responsibility, and accountability are life skills that need to be learned.
Each month your child will be required to memorize a poem and recite it to the class. In this folder, you will find a set of poems, one for each month and a grading scale. A grade will be given each month for your child’s recitation of his or her poem. All poems are recited on (or before, if ready) the due date in front of the class.
A book report will be due each quarter. In this folder, you will find an approved list of books to choose from. Be sure you pick a book that is specifically listed. The books must be at least 60 pages long with no more than five pictures in the whole book. A grade will be given each quarter for your child’s book report as part of the Reading grade.
Reading fluency and comprehension are a huge part of education and literacy! Your child should spend a minimum of 15 minutes per night reading. Remember to have them read aloud sometimes too! Ask questions to check for understanding!!
Each student must read 300 pages for each of the first two quarters, and will increase to 400 pages for the third and fourth quarters. The book report book counts as pages toward the log. The books on the log must be listed by title, author, and number of pages. (It is strongly encouraged that books be chosen off of the approved book list, but for the book logs, it isn’t necessary.) The books should be on or above grade level with 60+ pages with few pictures. (Comic type books, poetry books, and World Record Books are fun to read, but they should NOT be recorded on book logs.)
The total number of pages must be added up and the form must be completely filled in with student and parent signatures and dated. This book log counts as 10% of your child’s reading grade each quarter! Incomplete forms are not accepted. Late book logs will result in a 0% and a detention.
We use the 4th Grade, Saxon Math along with some supplemental materials for our curriculum.
I try to give 3-4 timed tests a week (100 problems) that will not be part of the students’ grade. It is for practice purposes only. (These are not from the Saxon materials.) If a student passes all the tests, I do give rewards.
There are some timed tests from Saxon that will be graded. You will be able to tell the difference easily by how they are typed.
Our first math assessment will be after the first 10 lessons and thereafter will be every 5 lessons like clockwork. Occasionally, I will give the students a teacher-made quiz as well. These do not need to be announced. If there is time, we complete a practice test prior to the math test and these practice tests mirror the types of questions seen on the graded tests.
We will also have quarterly assessments based on what the children learned in the quarter as it compares with Arizona State Standards. These will be part of the child’s grade. They are to see how the student is progressing and if he is deficient in an area that I need to reteach.
Spalding is an excellent Language Arts/Spelling/Reading program. We will be entering Spelling words from the Ayers List into special notebooks. We will learn markings and rules for each word. Examining words really helps understand how the English language works and will make lifelong great spellers out of the students.
The grade will be based on the student’s notebook, phonogram quizzes, and possible rules quizzes.
Phonogram quizzes will be given every Thursday. They are usually based on 30 phonograms, but at the beginning of each month, students will take a test over all 70. If a child earns a 100% on the 70 test, he will not have to take this test the entire month. He will automatically receive a 100%. But, he will still participate in our daily oral and written reviews.
The children will get 30 new words each week that we enter into our Spalding notebooks and work with during the week. In addition, they will begin getting up to 15 review words for a possible total of 45 words.
Pretests will be held on Wednesdays. If a student earns a 100%, he does not need to take the Spelling test on Friday. He will automatically get a 100%. He will still need to complete the Dictation portion. The dictation will get 2 grades. One will be for Spelling and one for Language.
Grammar will consist mostly of worksheets from the Easy Grammar series. All parts of speech including nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, and conjunctions, will be taught. Quizzes and tests will be announced in advance.
Spelling Dictations will receive 2 grades. One grade is for Spelling alone and the Language grade which includes both spelling and grammar mechanics.
Reading grades will be based on comprehension tests, vocabulary tests, graded worksheets, book logs, oral reading, and book reports. Tests are announced at least 2 days in advance.
The Six Traits (+ 1) of Writing will be taught in detail along with the “Excellence in Writing” program. Six Traits is how standardized testing is graded. The two programs really complement each other.
The Six Traits are as follows:
- Ideas and Content – The Message
- Organization – The Internal Structure
- Voice – The Voice Behind the Words
- Word Choice – The Language that Brings It to Life
- Sentence Fluency – Rhythm and Flow
- Conventions – The Mechanical Correctness
+ 1: Presentation – Neatness in appearance
A quarterly assessment will also be given for writing focusing on the traits we worked on. This will be part of the Language Arts grade.
Social Studies and Science
Grades will be based on comprehension and vocabulary quizzes and tests as well as graded worksheets. For social studies, there are some map labeling quizzes.
As previously stated, there will quarterly assessments in Math and Writing given at the end of each quarter. A form will be given, usually with report cards, with result on how well the student did. I will share the first tests at the first quarter conference for you to better understand how this works. Each quarter after that, please feel free to come in and ask me any questions about the assessments.
As shown in the student handbook, grades will be given according to the following scale:
93% - 100% = A
84% - 92% = B
75% - 83% = C
65% - 74% = D
Below 65% = F
Weights of Grades for Third Grade
Spalding: Tests 50% Reading: Tests 35%
Notebooks 50%Quizzes/Graded Worksheets 25%
100%Book Report 20%
Book Log 10%
Oral Reading 10%
Spelling: Tests70%Math: Tests 80%
Dictations30%Facts Tests 20%
Science: Tests/Chapter Review 50%Social Studies: Tests/Chapter Review 50%
Worksheets 50% Worksheets 50%
Language Arts: Tests/Graded Worksheets/Writing 60%
Poem Recitations 15%
Third grade is the first year that the children are eligible for Honor Roll. [Symbol] There are two types of Honor Roll:
Principal’s: GPA of the 7 Core Subjects of 3.86 – 4.0. (All A’s, or all A’s and 1 B)
Teacher’s Honor Roll: GPA of the 7 Core Subjects of 3.57 – 3.71.
If a 4.0 is achieved in all 4 quarters, then the student will receive a Board of Directors award.
*It is important to note that a student will not be eligible for Honor Roll if he receives an “N” or “U” on any portion of the report card including Special Areas, Handwriting or Behavior.
Low Grades/Parent Signatures
*All papers receiving a grade of less than 70% require a parent signature to be returned by the student within two days. Parents need to know if students are getting low grades. If a student does not return the papers and a note isn’t written to me from the parent that says they saw the grade, the child will miss recess until it is returned. Graded work is sent home weekly on Wednesdays via take home folders. Please initial each week that you have seen the graded work.
You are the most important person in your child’s life. You are the one he or she wants to please. For this reason, I believe that parents and teachers, working as a team, will minimize discipline problems and maximize learning.
Classroom rules are as follows:
1. Be respectful to others.
2. Raise your hand to speak.
3. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
4. Do not leave your seat without permission.
5. Do not interfere with other students’ learning.
- Verbal warning
- Move clip down to 5 minutes missed recess.
- Move clip down to 10 minutes missed recess
- Move clip down to entire missed recess, written note home.
- Move clip down to detention and written notice to parents.
- Positive verbal reinforcement/written certificates
- Class project days/Fun time
- Homework passes
- Prize box trips
On or near your child’s birthday, the class will sing “Happy Birthday” to him or her and they will be given a special pencil and certificate. Children who do not celebrate birthdays will not be required to participate. Birthday treats sent to class cannot be accepted. This is a school-wide policy.
Students are encouraged to use the restroom before school, during recess, and lunch. The children will get another afternoon opportunity to use the restroom. If your child has a special need concerning the bathroom, please let me know.
Thank you in advance for all of your support! I look forward to a great year with your child!