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May 18th, 2020 – The Final Week

Hello Parents!

This week the kids will wrap up their third grade year!  In reading, they will practice poetry, and explore what makes them laugh.  There will be two very funny, bonus stories and activities posted on Tuesday and Thursday, in addition to the regular LPS lessons on Monday and Wednesday.  There will be no spelling list this week.

In math, the final two lessons will focus on polygons and quadrilaterals.  Both lessons will have sorting activities posted to help them apply what they have learned.  No extra items or printed materials will be needed.

In social studies, the kids have one more set of lessons for the week that focus on “Producers and Consumers.”

Thank you SO MUCH for making sure your child completes these final lessons to wrap up the year.

Portfolio Work

The kids have been assigned three bonus assignments this week that are part of their “School Days…” portfolio project.  When completed, I will print them and add them to their year end portfolio.  Please see that your child completes these, as they will prove to be great keepsakes to remember their third grade year.  I can’t wait for the kids to receive their memory books when we return to school!

Zoom Meetings

This week, there will be THREE Zoom Class Meetings!  (Code: 526-181-3917) I really hope everyone can join us on the following days and times to celebrate the end of the year.

Tuesday at 1:00:  Don’t miss the chance to watch the movie “Kicking and Screaming,” and learn the origin of, “Coffee is the Lifeblood that Drives the Dreams of Champions!”  🙂

Wednesday at 11:00:  Join ALL FIVE 3rd grade classes for a final Reading Rainbow Watch Party!

Thursday at 1:00:  Say, “I’ll see you next time,” to your classmates, as we take a trip down memory lane and watch the “School Days…” memories music videos for 2019-20!

Please don’t miss out!!!

“Schools Days…” Music Video Memories

On Thursday, the kids will watch their year in review in pictures, set to music.  We will reminisce with 7 or 8 sets of pictures, and celebrate all the fun we had!  When we return to school, the kids will receive not only their portfolio, but either a DVD or flash drive copy of all the music videos we’ll watch.  This project is a labor of love, and one I cannot imagine not sharing with the kids!

I will also email parents downloadable links to each of the videos.  That way you can can save them now, and rewatch whenever you please.  I will likely email these Thursday after our meeting, or perhaps on Friday.

LPS Daily Challenges, Lexia Reading and Dreambox Math

Good news!  The kids can keep practicing their skills over the summer!  LPS will continue to post weekly challenges on their web page.  Also, the Lexia reading program will be offered free through July 31st, and Dreambox math will be offered free through June 30th!

Thank you again for working so hard to help the kids finish strong and wrap up their school year.  I truly appreciate all you have done to make this trying time the best it can be!

Have a great last week!

Eric Wachter

May 11th, 2020 – Animal Week

Hello Families,

I swear…my days are so confused lately.   I spend most of my time prepping for the next week, and it’s hard to stay in the present.  It’s like all the days feel the same.  In the process, I can’t seem to get these weekly updates out on Sunday or Monday anymore.  Ugh!  I bet some of you can relate?  Ha!

This week in reading, the kids will enjoy expository text stories about animals!  There are two good lessons…one about butterflies (Monday), and another about alligators and crocodiles (Wednesday).  Both lessons also have some AWESOME short videos to enjoy to help add context to the animals they are reading about.  During the lessons, the kids will practice comparing and contrasting animals, rereading and adverbs.  You probably also saw there is a spelling list that goes with Unit 6, Week 4.  Lastly, there are two fun bonus lessons featuring the books “Make Way for Ducklings” on Tuesday and “The Garden of Abdul Gasazi” on Thursday.  Two classics I hope the kids enjoy.

In math class, the kids will learn (or did learn today) about milliliters and liters on Tuesday.  Then on Thursday, they will have a lesson about customary weight and metric mass.  Both lessons have follow up assignments that are Chromebook friendly, and don’t need to be printed.

In social studies, a second lesson set was posted, as well.  I believe the kids have to log in through MyVRSpot in order to see the videos, just like they do for reading and math.  There were a few problems with viewing last week, so I’m hoping that is the solution to seeing those videos.

On Friday, I’m looking forward to seeing the kids at our weekly Zoom Class Meeting at 12:00 (Code: 526-181-3917).  We’ll watch a great Reading Rainbow about “Humphrey the Lost Whale.”  A classic!

Last Week of School

On Tuesday, May 19th at 1:00…I’d like to invite the kids to a special Zoom watch party of the movie “Kicking and Screaming.”  It’s a hilarious movie about Will Farrell becoming a soccer Dad.  It’s a tradition I show this movie the last day or two of school, so why not continue during quarantine, right?  🙂  Grab some popcorn and a soda, and watch with us!

On Thursday, May 21st at 1:00…I’d like to invite the kids to another Zoom watch party.  We’ll take a trip down memory lane and watch a video called, “School Days…”   It’s a collection of photographs and memories from the past year set to music.  It KILLS me we can’t do this in person, as it’s my favorite tradition of the year.  But, this is the next best thing!  Traditionally, my past students LOVE this day of reflection, and I can’t wait to show it to everyone.

The code for both meetings will remain the same: 526-181-3917.

Please, please, please, make sure your child can join us for both of these fun days, especially the last day of school.   I don’t want this darn virus to steal closure to the school year for all of us!

Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of the week!

Eric Wachter

May 4th, 2020 – Space Week

Hello Families!

I hope you are all doing well, and getting outside a bit to enjoy the nice weather.  I’m so encouraged by the warmth, and the notion that some things are beginning to open up in the community!

This week in reading, the kids will enjoy two different stories about astronauts and outer space.  Both stories are biographies, and the kids will practice rereading, as well as identifying and solving problems.  To help bring some background knowledge, I’ve included several links to videos for the kids to watch regarding both stories.  I hope they give them a look!  The kids will practice adverbs and adjectives, as well as root words with their vocabulary.  I absolutely love both stories, and it kills me we aren’t in class together to enjoy them!

In math, the kids will wrap up word problems, and move on to new set of lessons about customary and metric measurement.  Both follow-up assignments this week are interactive with their Chromebook, so you won’t need to worry about printing any forms.

With the conclusion of Embryology, the kids will shift to Social Studies to end the year.  The first lesson set is about why a community needs goods and services.  A pretty timely set of lessons considering the state of our world at this point!

I have been really proud of the kids and their engagement during this time.  I know this is very trying for us all, but I think we’re enduring well!  Just a reminder, the kids should go to their “Reading” Google Classroom every day to see the “Job Board” posted for that day’s lessons.  Everything there should be pretty self-explanatory, regarding what they should be doing each day.

However, I have had some parents ask for a more specific checklist of weekly work.  So, under the “Remote Learning” tab of the class web page, I will insert a more detailed list of weekly assignments.  This new list will hopefully give you a better, more specific list for each day.  Ideally, it will make your life easier to manage!

Just a reminder that we will have another Zoom Class Meeting and Reading Rainbow Watch Party this Friday at 12:00.  The class code is still the same: 526-181-3917, so I hope everyone can join us!

Thanks for reading, and thank you for everything you continue to do during this crazy time.  Take care and stay safe!

Eric Wachter

April 27th, 2020 – Chick Hatchings and Wild Weather!

Hello Families!

This week the kids will be learning about extreme weather in their reading lessons.  They will practice making predictions, theme and adjectives in two historical fiction stories.  There are also two fun weather related stories for their bonus reading lessons on Tuesday and Thursday.

The spelling words come from the unit 6, week 3 list.  There is a new Google Form that will help the kids take their test on Friday, if interested.  They simply need an adult to read the words to them, and the kids can type their words into the Google Form.  Once the form is submitted, the program will grade their words!

In math class, the kids will continue practicing word problems, and finding a strategy that works best for them.  The follow up activity to each lesson will be posted in their Google Classroom, and won’t require any printing, thankfully.

You might have already seen the chicks are hatching!  I’m so excited the kids can have this experience, even from afar.  Next week, the kids will begin a series of social studies lessons.

I am hoping you’ve received an email regarding a Parent Zoom Meeting tomorrow at noon.  I’m sorry this is such late notice, but it was an idea that grew legs and was quickly assembled.  Parents are welcome to check in, say hello and or ask questions about any remote learning concerns.  I apologize if the timing is poor and you have prior plans!  I know noon in the middle of the week might not be the best time.  If you can’t join that meeting, it will be recorded and posted later for your review.

Our class will have another Zoom Class Meeting, Friday at 12:00.  After some chit-chat we’ll watch a great embryology themed episode of Reading Rainbow called, “Rachenka’s Eggs.”

I hope you and your family are doing well and staying safe.  Thanks for all the help you’re giving your child during this time.  It’s greatly, greatly appreciated!

Eric Wachter

April 20th, 2020 – Sunken Treasures and Titanic Week

Hello Families!

The theme in reading this week is “Sunken Treasures.”  The kids will learn about theme, making predictions, adjectives and idioms in their stories this week.  The two bonus lessons (Tuesday and Thursday) are about the Titanic, which is a favorite topic of mine.  I still marvel at seeing the photographs of the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean!  I hope your child chooses to complete each, as the two bonus stories are really fun to read.  Then, our Friday Reading Rainbow Watch Party focuses on the Titanic, as well.  I hope your kids can join me at noon Friday, using the same Zoom code: 526-181-3917.

If your child can’t join us Friday, they can always watch the Reading Rainbow episode on their own time.  They are posted in their “3rd Grade Google Classroom” under the Reading Rainbow heading.

In math, the lessons continue to focus on word problems, and different strategies to solve them.  I know a few people are loving the “Kami” worksheets, while others have had trouble opening them.  I know that can be frustrating!  So, I am going to try and turn each worksheet into a typeable “Google Form.”  For example, tomorrow’s math lesson assigns Practice Page 6.5.  I’ll still post that on the web site, under the “Math” tab.  But, in their Google Classroom it’s assigned as a Google Form.  From there, they can simply solve the problems, choose an answer, and turn it in!  I hope this makes life easier!  🙂

I hope the kids are enjoying the virtual Embryology lessons.  I know it’s not the real thing, but there are some fun things to do and learn in those lessons!  The Live Egg Cam will be great to watch when the little chickadees begin to hatch!

Thanks so much for all you’re doing for your kids.  I miss them terribly, and can’t wait to see them when this is all over!

Have a great week and take good care,

Eric Wachter

April 13th, 2020 – Embryology Begins!

Hello Families!

I hope you all had a nice Easter weekend, and were able to celebrate with families and friends in a “social distancing” sort of way!  🙂

Core Lessons

This week the kids will focus on Energy during their two core reading lessons.  They will consider the question, “What are different kinds of energy?” during their expository text stories.  They’ll practice cause and effect, will ask and answer questions, and review homophones.  The weekly spelling words are posted in their Reading Google Classroom, as well.

In math, the two core lessons this week will shift to word problems.  The kids will review various strategies as they break apart one and two-step problems.

The kids will also begin Embryology this week.  They have a new Google Classroom to join called, “Integrated Studies.”  From there, they will see a link for Science and Embryology lessons.  They are very self-explanatory, and the kids will simply follow the list of directions to complete the lessons.  There are also two cam links to let them watch the chicks virtually hatch when the days comes!

Kami PDFs

I have attempted…crossing my fingers…to post their PDF worksheets via “Kami.”  Kami should allow the kids to open the documents and type on them!  If I did the uploading correct…this would be very helpful if you don’t have a printer at home.  Let me know how this goes!  I will continue to post necessary PDFs on our class web page, as well.

Lexia and Dreambox

On our class web site under the reading and math tabs, you will find two new links to consider.  Lexia is an online reading program, and Dreambox is an online math program.  The directions to enroll are posted, and these two resources would be a great way for kids to practice their skills interactively!  I hope you consider having your child participate in both!

I think that’s all for this week!  I truly hope you are settling into a nice routine, and making the best of this situation we’re in.  I can’t thank you enough for your patience, and all you’e done for your kids during this time to help them continue on their educational journey.

Eric Wachter

April 6th, 2020 – A New Beginning

Hello Families!

Thank you all so much for the work you’ve done the past two weeks.  We are living in some challenging times, to say the least.  I’m sure the fact that you had to take on the role of teacher didn’t make things any easier!  Thankfully, this week marks a new beginning in your child’s remote learning education.  The following email is long, but will have some precious little nuggets of information, so thank you in advance for reading.

Google Classroom Daily Routine

Beginning tomorrow, your child will have lessons posted in his/her Reading Google Classroom each morning by 8:00 AM.  In order to access the video lessons, they will need to first go to the LPS Portal, and open the “MyVRSpot” application.  This is like using a key to unlock the door to the lessons, if that makes sense.  Then, your child will log into Google Classroom and click on the “Reading” class.  Every morning I will have a “Job Board” posted.  On it will list the lessons and activities for each day.  The lessons and accompanying materials will also be posted.

Your child will have a new reading lesson on Mondays and Wednesdays, and a new math lesson on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  These are the only “must do” lessons this week.  Everything else posted is only suggested practice, though highly encouraged.


Spelling practice is encouraged!  Lists will be posted on Mondays, and suggested practice will be posted during the week.  A Friday test is optional.  You can give the test the traditional way, or have the kids go to “Spelling City” and take the test online.  Under the “Spelling” tab of our class web page, there are directions how to access the online test.  Those directions will also be posted in their Reading Google Classroom every Friday.


The lessons (especially Math), have accompanying links to PDFs or documents you can access.  Ideally you can print those resources out at home, but I know that is not possible for some.  I don’t believe Chromebooks can print either, so you would need to rely on a home device of some sort for the printing.  This is far from ideal, I know.  Thanks for doing the best you can under these circumstances to help your child practice his/her lessons.

Introduction Videos

Each reading and math lesson is produced by LPS.  However, each lesson will begin with an introduction by me.  Even on math lesson days, the kids should first go to their Reading classroom to view the daily Job Board.  Then, they access the math lessons by going to their Math classroom.

Just to note, I’ve invited all the kids that travel to another teacher for math to join my Math Google Classroom.  That way they can watch my math lesson introductions, if they are so inclined.  There are also a long list of Math Fact Quizzes they will be able to access for practice.

Web Site Changes

I know this is a lot to take in, so thanks for staying with me!  To make your life easier, there is a new tab on our class web page called “Remote Learning.”  There you will find the following links to make your life much, much easier!  🙂

Daily Digital Routine – This shows the kids how to begin each morning by accessing the MyVRSpot application.

Remote Learning Suggested Weekly Schedule – Here you will find a suggested template of what a week of Remote Learning school could look like for your child.

Digital Books – Lists a number of access points to free digital books!

Educational Game Sites – Lists a number of educational sites to enjoy!

Zoom Conferences – Feeling stressed and in need of support?  This link shows how you can still access the school’s counselor and other support staff.

Zoom Class Meetings and Reading Rainbow Watch Party

I really enjoyed our first “Zoom Class Meeting” last Friday!  I would like to make that a regular, weekly appointment.  So, this Friday we will meet again at 12:00.  We can chat about the week, and I can hopefully answer any questions the kids might have about their weekly lessons.

Then, at then end of our meeting I would love to have a Reading Rainbow watch party!  I can share the video through my computer, and we can enjoy the show together.  The Reading Rainbow this week is called “Germs Make Me Sick.”  A very timely lesson for what we are all experiencing right now!

Well, I think that covers it all!  Please let me know if you have any questions today or during the course of the week, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.  Thanks again for all your hard work the past two weeks.  I’m very happy to take it from here!  🙂

Eric Wachter

April 1st, 2020 – Remote Learning Update and Friday Zoom Meeting

Hello Families!

I hope you are all doing well, and staying safe from the spread of the Coronavirus!  Crazy days we’re living with, indeed!

I have gotten a bit more clarity as to what Distance Learning will look like for your child for the foreseeable future.  Starting next Monday, the kids will have a new lesson posted in their Google Classroom each day.  On Mondays and Wednesdays, the kids will have a reading lesson posted in their reading classroom.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they will have a math lesson posted in their math classroom.  These lessons will be produced by LPS, so each child will get the same, consistent instruction during these school closure days.  I get the sense that this will be the pattern going forward.

For each lesson, I will provide a short video introduction.  I have made a few of these already, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to set up each lesson.  The reading lesson intro videos will be seen by all the homeroom kids.  I’ve had some fun with these!  Each one includes some jokes, and I’m learning how to include silly images and posters to help me complete the introduction.  I hope your kids enjoy them!  The math lesson intro videos will be delivered by your child’s math teacher.  This way kids that travel to another teacher math can stay in touch (per se) with their regular math teacher.

For some lessons, I will post a worksheet or two that can be printed out to help your child with the lesson.  For the most part, however, the lessons are designed to only need a few pages of blank paper, or a marker board if you happen to have one.  LPS understands resources at home might be scarce, so I’m assuming most lessons can be completed by simply following along with the instruction.

I will also post some optional work for your kids.  There might be spelling activities, grammar lessons and most certainly will include a digital book to enjoy with a follow up lesson or two.  I highly encourage reading 20-30 minutes a day, too.  Next week, I’m hoping to provide you with a list of some free eBook sites that might help your child stay engaged with reading.  All of this, of course, will evolve as we go along.  Like you, I’m doing my best to adapt to Distance Learning.  Thanks so much for your patience as we sort things out!

Last but not least, I’d like to try a “Zoom Class Meeting” on Friday, April 3rd at 12:00!  The kids have access to “Zoom” through the LPS portal.  To join our class meeting, they would follow these steps:

  • Visit the Portal on your Chromebook
  • Click on Zoom (You might need to click ALL to find it)
  • Enter the meeting code:  526-181-3917
  • Enter your name
  • Click Join

You can also do this via other devices.  The Zoom app is free.  Once you download it, you just join a meeting with the code above.  I have never done this before, so we’ll see how this goes.  Ha!  I anticipate our meeting being 30 minutes or so, but who knows?  We’ll play it by ear!  If this goes well, I’d love to do it regularly.

This is A LOT to absorb, so thanks for reading through everything.  I am so appreciative of all the work you’ve done with your kids so far.  Next week, I think you’ll feel less pressure, as the kids begin to assume more responsibility for their learning.  You and I will always be resources to assist them, of course, but I’m excited for the kids to begin a more independent approach to Distance Learning.

Thanks so much for reading, have a great rest of the week, and I’m looking forward to seeing the kids at our class meeting!

Eric Wachter

March 23rd, 2020 – Unchartered Waters

Hello Families!

It is so nice to be able to communicate with you again!  I have missed your children SO MUCH during the past 2-3 weeks.  Like everyone, my head is still spinning regarding this unprecedented situation.

As you’ve gathered from the LPS communications, the next two weeks are considered “review” weeks.  The review packets can be accessed via your child’s Chromebook.  There is a lot of information included, which can seem overwhelming.  My suggestion would be to “divide and conquer.”  Review a couple of pages a day to stay sharp.  Don’t feel like you’re under pressure to complete everything.  As you know, nothing needs to be turned in, and nothing will be graded from those activities.

A good suggestion might be to have your child tell you what they remember about each concept.  The true measure of mastery is if you can explain and teach it to someone else.  Perhaps that would be the easiest way for your child to recall what he/she knows, and allow you to fill in the gaps.  I would be shocked it there weren’t gaps, to be honest.  It is so hard for kids to recall concepts from months and months ago, so don’t be alarmed if you see some confused faces.  That is normal and to be expected.

I know it’s also hard for parents to suddenly become teachers!  Never, ever fear that you aren’t helping, or that you’re doing anything to stunt their growth.  The hardest thing about teaching is conveying what we know as adults into the minds of children.  How can I say the most, while saying the least?  How can I flip that switch?  What is the one thing I can say that is going to elicit the greatest response on earth, “I get it!”  That will be OUR greatest challenge during this time.  Please know I am here to help, and will do all I can to assist.

Beginning April 6th, your child will have a daily reading and math lesson, produced by LPS.  I’m assuming these will be recorded lessons, and we will post them to their Google Classroom.  I’ll know more about that later.

Also beginning April 6th, we will be allowed to post enrichment assignments to their Google Classroom.  I am still trying to figure out what this will look like.  My goal will always be to provide assignments and lessons that can be done independently (or with moderate assistance) by your child.  My goal will be to create a daily routine they can come to expect.

In the mean time, there are a couple of things the kids can do for enrichment.  I strongly encourage reading 20-30 minutes every day.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe “Epic!” (a digital book site) can be accessed from home without a paid subscription.  However, the kids can access “Sora” through the Portal.  Just follow these steps…

1) Portal

2) Sora

3) Enter student number and password

4) Explore!

My enrichment assignments will likely include some digital books posted in their Google Classroom and/or through Sora.  If they can become familiar with how to navigate through the site, that would be awesome!

Each child also had a new Writer’s Notebook in their Chromebook bag.  I would strongly encourage daily journal writing, too.  A fun exercise might be to write about each day for 5-10 minutes.  It would be really interesting for them to go back and read their thoughts once we are passed all this quarantine.

If you’ve read this far…good job!  I feel like I haven’t been able to speak for two weeks and can finally get all this out!  🙂  I will continue to send weekly emails like this one, but I’m also exploring how to post video messages.  I think it would be reassuring for the kids to see me, and it would make me feel good getting to give them a message every week.  I’ll keep you posted on those video messages!

Thanks so much for all you are doing at this time.  I think the most important thing we can do for the kids is to offer reassurance and safety.  Spend time with them.  Read stories.  Play games.  Prioritize activities that will make them feel safe and secure.  Stressing over a school lesson is NOT ALLOWED!  🙂

Please assure your child that I am doing well, and that we will all get through this together!

Eric Wachter

March 2nd, 2020 – MAP Reading, Fossil Dig and Dr. Seuss Week

Hello Families!

This week, the kids will “march” on with week 3 of Unit 5 in reading.  We’ll practice answering and asking questions, discuss point of view and work on context clues to understand the vocabulary in our expository text stories this week.  We will have a spelling list this week, as well as the last Literacy Homework assignment.

Arnold will also celebrate Dr. Seuss this week by reading a different book each day, and with the following fun themes each day.

Monday-Hat Day (Cat in the Hat)

Tuesday-Bring a small item to share that can fit in your pocket (Wocket in Your Pocket)

Wednesday-Dress wacky with crazy, mismatched and backwards colors (Wacky Wednesday)

Thursday-Wear crazy socks (Fox in Socks)

Friday-Wear Red or Blue (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish)

The kids will also take their final MAP Reading Test on Monday and Tuesday.  This will serve as our last formative check of skills before the state reading tests at the end of March and early April.

In math class, the kids will continue to practice perimeter and area. We’ll also continue to practice our math facts and review old concepts in our daily review.  In my math class, I anticipate homework on Monday and Wednesday evenings, as well as a possible assignment Thursday.

To end the week on Friday afternoon, the kids will excavate a fossil out of a plaster of Paris mold.  It’s always a fun activity, and wraps up their study of fossils by getting messy!  I would encourage casual dress Friday afternoon, just in case the plaster gets on the kids’ clothes.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Eric Wachter