Classroom News

March 1, 2024

happy march

I just finished my professional development for the day. Engaging students as faithful disciples was the title of my afternoon session. I had a nice discussion with another teacher in our break-out room. I enjoyed hearing about what her school has been doing for service and outreach. 

Monday marks the beginning of our last trimester together. Report cards for trimester 2 will go home next Thursday, March 7. I believe iReady diagnostic reports will be included. 

March is National Reading Month. We will be doing many different activities to celebrate books throughout the month. This week we will be making a book commercial about a favorite picture or chapter book. Everyone will get a script with missing parts to fill in. Then, they will tape themselves on Seesaw reading from that script. I will be showing the videos to the whole class on Wednesday. I have a library full of Dr. Seuss books on a google slide that will be up on google classroom. Dr. Seuss’s birthday is March 2. Read Across America is usually celebrated on this day, but that is on a Saturday this year. When students finish work early this month, they will be able to visit this library to read a Dr. Seuss book. 

Our class got our golden ticket pulled this week!!! We will use our out of uniform on Wednesday, March 6 - Wacky Wednesday. Students can do something “wacky” with their dress that day (crazy socks, shirt on backwards, wacky hairdo…). I will be reviewing my expectations with the students on Monday. 

With several students out in both third grades we weren’t able to share our presidential posters. We plan on doing that this Monday. We will also be coming together on Friday to watch the Disney movie - Ruby Bridges - from 1998. It is rated PG. 

Our black history month quilt is hanging on our back bulletin board. There were only a few people on the quilt squares that third graders had ever heard of before. We didn’t go into depth on any of them, but now hopefully they’ll remember their name and contribution. 

We have been reviewing Unit 10 in vocabulary the past few days. Our assessment will be this Tuesday. Our spelling words will be with prefixes pre-, dis-, and mis-. Our grammar skill will be irregular past tense verbs. We will continue reading from our Storyworks3 magazine. 

In religion we will focus on One God in the Three Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity. St. Patrick’s story will be shared. We will work on a Holy Trinity shamrock art and a watercolor of Jesus on the cross. 

We will be wrapping up our Investigating Electrical Systems unit in science. Students will be showing me what they’ve learned, and we will be talking about electrical safety. 

Mrs. Zawaski’s class will be coming to work on a measurement project with our class Monday afternoon. It is quite involved - so a little help from an older friend will be appreciated. 

We will continue working with area in math. We will practice our skills solving real world problems. Our formal assessment will be the following week. I am introducing several new math centers on Thursday when we have Ms. Tesmond in our classroom. 

I hope that there has been some beginning discussion on the leprechaun trap. I will be giving reminders to students this week so that everyone is not starting next weekend. We talked about all the “free” items that are in our house that we can use. (amazon boxes, toilet paper rolls, glitter, plastic coins, rainbow items, etc.) I reinforced that this project is not for your family to spend money on. Shamrock stickers or plastic coins from the dollar store are ok, but it should be fun trying to figure out what to use in your own home before you go out to buy anything. There is a writing project that goes along with the trap that we will work on the week of the 11th. 

I hope to start work on cursive writing this last trimester. We pack so much into our days already, but I want them to really know how to form letters correctly. I’ve learned 3 different styles of cursive writing. We will be using the Zaner-Bloser style. It is the most common.

I hope your lenten journey has brought you peace. Our acts of kindness chain link makes me happy every time I look at it in our classroom. 

The next several weeks we will have 2 students from St. Xavier visiting both third grades. They are completing their observation hours for becoming a teacher.

Have a great week!


Mrs. Bucko

bruary 23, 2024

heart stamp

We are entering the last week of February and the last week of the second trimester. I will close out all grades on Thursday, February 29. Students brought homework folders home on Thursday. I have to go through workbooks and journals to take grades at the beginning of the week.  

I am happy to be hearing about all the acts of kindness that students are doing outside of school. It makes my heart happy to hear all of their good deeds. Please sign the kindness bingo board this next week so that I can give them credit in their religion grade. 

Students need to show me their reading charts next week. I’m looking to see at least 200 minutes from each student. 

I forgot to send home the leprechaun trap assignment on Thursday. I will be discussing the guidelines with the students on Monday, and they will bring the note home for you to sign for Monday homework. The project is not turned in until the week of March 11. Mrs. Loewe and I like to give enough time so that parents have a few weeks to plan with their child. 

Third grade has been doing very well on the area chapter in math. There are only 7 lessons in this chapter, so we will be completing the chapter on Wednesday and reviewing the last days of the week. 

We will join the lower grades on Wednesday to  participate in stations of the cross. 

We have learned so many interesting facts about our past presidents. We will work on completing the posters at the beginning of the week. At the end of the week both third grades will form a sharing circle in order of the presidential term. Each third grader will be able to share a few interesting facts they learned during their research. 

Our short unit on Ruby Bridges will continue. Students will also become familiar with a few other famous African Americans that made a difference as we end Black History Month. 

Two groups were successful on Thursday in creating an electrical circuit with a switch!!! We will work on getting everyone able to turn their light on and off this week. Afterwards, we will work on electrical safety and sharing what we’ve learned by creating trifold brochures. 

All Young Author stories have gone off to the judges. 3 students will be chosen to represent our class at the Young Author Conference in April. We will put a date on the calendar that parents will be able to come and see all the stories. Thank you for your help in proofreading before they turned in their final copy for binding. 


Mrs. Bucko

February 17, 2024


I’m sure that a lot of you saw the pictures on facebook - clad with hairnets! The teachers spent yesterday morning packing food for the poor around the world at Feed My Starving Children. It was a nice way to start service and acts of kindness for Lent. As part of our lenten journey our classroom is trying to do extra acts of kindness. I hope you begin to notice that with your child. Our lenten promises are hanging in our classroom to remind us of what we are trying to accomplish.

Thank you to the parents that came for conferences on Thursday. There aren’t many opportunities to discuss how your child is doing academically and socially. 

We began our presidential research. Part of our discussion on Thursday was not just filling in the research notes packet but to read about their president. Once they slowed down and actually read - the class found so many amazing facts. We will continue researching on Tuesday and Wednesday. We will begin working on the posters on Thursday. 

During February I always share the story of Ruby Bridges. We will be reading several nonfiction texts. There are a lot of big vocabulary words this week. I will be teaching about the law put into place to desegregate schools signed by Lyndon B. Johnson. We will end the week reading about Jackie Robinson.

Spelling will continue with r-controlled vowel words. We start Unit 10 in vocabulary. We continue with possessives in grammar. 

In math we will be working on area measurement. I’m still expecting those students who are in Xtra math to complete daily practices. 

I hope that you enjoyed your iReady conference with your child last Monday. I meant to have you sign their assignment book after they chatted with you about the information. Students will have you sign in their assignment books this Tuesday. So many students are going above and beyond their goals!!!!

Investigating electrical systems continues. This week they will be testing out circuits, and we will actually create a light switch out of an index card, brass brads, wires, and tape. 

The new Beyond the Books form came home this past week. You should have also received your rice bowl and a lenten companion book. 

We have 2 weeks left for this trimester. iReady reports will come home with report cards in March. 

Enjoy the weekend!


Mrs. Bucko

February 10, 2024

Bitmoji Image

Happy Chinese New Year! It is the year of the dragon. Students read stories and worked in teams to answer trivia questions about this holiday and its customs. We made dragon masks that are hanging in our classroom. 

We only have 1 group left to present their author interview. Students did an amazing job this week! I think they had fun dressing up and performing in front of a large group.  They started taking home their research boards. Everyone takes home the board for 1 night and returns it the next day so that everyone in the group has a chance to present information to their family. 

Speaking of presenting information… We put new data  in our iReady folders so that students can present to a parent as part of their homework on Monday.

Our next research project will be on a president. Students chose a president and will begin research this week. When the research component is complete, they will fill in information on a presidential poster. Both third grades will meet and share what they’ve learned when all the posters are ready for display. 

Our language arts lessons this week will be centered around an endearing story, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. We will be talking about the changes that take place in the main character and sequence events in the story. I will be posting a read aloud on google classroom. That leads us into Valentine’s Day. Like I shared previously, we will be delivering valentines to our classmates on Tuesday, February 13. There are 24 students in our class. 

On Wednesday we begin the season of Lent. At the beginning of the week students will come home to talk with you about their Lenten promises - pray, fast, give alms. We will be writing out those promises on Tuesday so that they can be part of our religion corner. We will come together as a school at 10:00 on Wednesday to receive our ashes. 

Remind your child to keep filling out their reading log and their kindness bingo board. We will be adding special acts of kindness to our homework during Lent.

We ran out of time Friday and never took our spelling test. We will do that on Monday. There will be no spelling test for this coming week. Words for the following week will be given this Thursday since there is a holiday the following Monday. I hope that makes sense. In grammar we will start work on possessives. We’ve completed unit 9 in vocabulary. The assessment will be on Wednesday. 

Ms. Tesmond will be taking part of the class in her room on Monday so that we can both review the multiplication chapter one last time. We will have an assessment on Tuesday.

I purchased a valentine math escape room. We will work on that a big chunk of the day on Wednesday, and maybe into Thursday. It covers division, area, coordinates, time, and elapsed time. I taught them how to play multiplication war this week with a deck of cards. I was hoping to assign as homework if everyone could locate a deck of cards at home. It’s a fun, easy way to practice facts. They may even beat you!!!

I had to address too many disruptive behaviors this week. I didn’t schedule any behavior conferences for Thursday, but if any of this negative behavior carries into this week - I will need to ask for a  conference this Thursday. We moved seats Friday afternoon for a fresh start. 

I think there are just 1 or 2 students who need to finish the author page for their story. I gave a reminder to a few to bring in a picture to include on the author page. The stories are going to the judges at the end of the week. 

This week we have Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, early dismissal and conferences on Thursday, and no school on Friday for teachers’ faculty retreat. The following Monday we are off for Presidents’ Day. And to top it off - My baby turns 18 this week! 

Even though this is a short week, you can see that we will be very busy growing and stretching our brains. 


Mrs. Bucko

bruary 3, 2024


What a week!!! We packed in so many activities and still found time to grow and stretch our brains. If I had to speak for the kids I think the main highlights of the week would probably be… the math escape room and roller skating party on Tuesday, Pro Kids assembly on Thursday, and making lunches for the homeless on Friday. It could have also been math games with the Loewe’s, special lunches, making St. Brigid crosses, bingo… It was a fun week, but I’ll be glad to get back to our normal routine on Monday.

Thank you for helping make our first service project a success! It took us two hours after Mass yesterday to prep and pack 48 lunches. (We made 8 extra!) We packed John Chesna’s truck with our 12 boxes. His faith filled team will be delivering to several places that help feed the poor and homeless this morning. Projects like these always make your heart happy. We hope to do another project later in lent.

I have been mapping out the next few weeks of lesson plans. We will be reading folktales this week from our Wonders anthology. The weeks following we will be reading several mentor texts directed at specific skills, people, and events. Our spelling list will be words with r-controlled vowels. We start Unit 9 in vocabulary. Our grammar concept will be concrete and abstract nouns. 

We are still working on our multiplication facts in math. This week will end our chapter. The assessment will not be until the following week. I will be having them practice facts for homework each night. A majority of our classroom is already a math fact maniac. 

Below this newsletter I posted the amazing progress our class made with the January iReady diagnostic. I AM SO PROUD!!! If you’d like to discuss how your child did specifically - ask for a conference. Conferences are scheduled for the 15th. The blue form came home yesterday. It should be returned on Monday - whether you want a conference or not. Students will be taking their iReady folders home on Monday to show you how they scored. 

We continue investigating electrical systems. We have created simple circuits to light a bulb and run a motor. This week we will be learning more about simple circuits, Thomas Edison, and making a switch. Hands-on science is always more fun!!!

I’ve added many photos to the classroom learning photos tab.  Take a fresh look.

Students can start making valentine cards for their classmates if they’d like. We will be exchanging valentine cards to paper bag mailboxes. We will deliver cards on Tuesday the 13th because of Ash Wednesday. We have 24 students in our class.

Remember to document the independent reading page from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Students can receive a free treat when they hit 400 minutes. I will be signing for time that we are reading independently in class.

We will be playing kindness bingo in February. A bingo board will go home in their homework folder Monday. They can bring in the board when they've gotten bingo for doing acts of kindness at home. Maybe some can even cover the board by the end of the month!

Enjoy the sunshine!


Mrs. Bucko

February 2, 2024
iReady hoped we would go up 312 points as a class after the January diagnostic in math. We went up 448 points as a class!!!!!!!!!!!!!

iReady hoped we would go up 264 points as a class after the January diagnostic in reading. We went up 551 points as a class!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 27, 2024


Hello! I am so excited to see all of you tomorrow at open house to kick off Catholic Schools Week!!! Our class has been busy getting our room ready for your visit.  The author research project boards are hanging for you to view. You’ll be impressed at what an amazing job everyone did - by themselves!!! Several awards are hanging. Many of our math centers are out for students to demonstrate - or challenge a family member. There will be a slideshow of photos on our Promethean board. Mass starts at 9:30. There is fellowship in Kane Hall - then up to the classroom for a tour from your child.

Thank you for responding so quickly to our service project. You may bring items any day Monday - Thursday. Lunches will be assembled and packaged on Friday after church. They will be distributed to the homeless and poor on Friday and Saturday. 

There are so many fun activities planned for Catholic Schools Week! On Monday our class will be making cards that will be part of new family packets. We will also be making valentines for the homeless to put in our Friday lunches. On Tuesday we will be celebrating students. Our class will be challenged with a math escape room in the morning. We have a concert from McAuley in the afternoon. Students have the roller skating party that night - and no homework. On Wednesday we celebrate teachers. I am looking forward to the special lunch! We will be hosting Mrs. Loewe’s class in the afternoon to play a math game that uses all four operations for strategy. On Thursday we celebrate family. We have a special all school assembly in the afternoon. On Friday we will be making our lunches for the homeless after Mass. We will have special lunch, hot dogs and Andy’s ice cream. The day ends with bingo in Kane Hall. 

I’m hoping all students are able to complete the draft of their Young Author story this week. Most students are working on completing illustrations. Everyone should bring in a photo that can be glued to the all about the author page. I will be binding all the stories the first week of February. 

Thursday, February 1 is the feast day of St. Brigid. I didn’t know a lot about this amazing saint until 10 years ago. Now I make it a priority to celebrate her feast day. I will be posting a beautiful Irish reading of one of her stories on google classroom. I now own the book. We will be making St. Brigid crosses. 

The iReady diagnostic is almost over. I just have the students that were absent this past week that have to complete the math section. Students will come home later this week to share their growth. I have the reading growth posted outside our classroom door. Our iReady charts that are hanging in the classroom show how many lessons we completed the first half of the year. If students met the goal of 2 lessons per week they would have completed 30 lessons in each subject. I can’t wait to share how well our class did!

I hope that all the girls and their special dance partners had fun last night. I heard a lot of grandpas and uncles were in attendance. They were very excited to go!

I can’t wait to see you all tomorrow! 


Mrs. Bucko

January 20, 2024

heart cutout

My heart left school so happy yesterday!!! I love when we have a project and everyone embraces it. The classroom was buzzing with research, typing, editing, collaborating, designing, creating… We will be putting our author research project together this next week. Someone from the group should bring in a poster board. Groups are also working on finishing up their interview questions. We will complete that on Monday, and then the groups will begin practicing the interview for an audience. I will be assigning groups a date they will do their interview in front of class. Mrs. Loewe’s class will be coming across the hall to watch, too. 

We will be reading a chapter book together while we are completing all these projects. It won’t be a literature unit with nightly homework - just reading and discussing during the day. 

This coming week we will also be working on our Young Author story. I will be giving a little time each day to type on google docs. Some students will spend some time for homework typing out their final drafts. Students can begin work on illustrations and a title page. During Catholic Schools Week we will be working on an ALL ABOUT ME page to end the story. I will be using the book binding machine once everything is complete. I will be scheduling an Authors’ Tea in a few weeks to celebrate our writing abilities. 

The iReady diagnostic has been going well. About ⅓ of the students completed the reading section. Students will be conferencing with you for their homework once everyone has completed both sections of the diagnostic. I appreciate you making sure that your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats breakfast.

Spelling words will be Unit 8 vocabulary words. We will have the Unit 8 vocabulary test on Wednesday. Grammar skills will be common and proper nouns.

The Winter Reading Challenge was a big success! I hope students had fun choosing different ways to meet the challenge. The mugs are posted on our classroom door. 

Thank you for continuing to give your child opportunities to practice their multiplication facts. Right now everyone has passed up to 5x’s. Over half the class has passed all 12 levels of multiplication timed tests. Over half the class has passed all levels of multiplication on Xtra math. We even have 7 kids that have finished the 4th grade division level. I know there are a few that are still working on their subtraction. That is ok - keep practicing daily. I bought a multiplication escape room for our class to complete during Catholic Schools Week. We love the challenges.

I am making arrangements with a service group to deliver the lunches we make to the homeless. I hope I hear back from them by noon on Monday. I plan on sending out a group email with all the items we’ll need to make 40 lunches for the homeless at the end of Catholic Schools Week. There will be a spreadsheet attached that will allow you to sign up for the different items needed for the bagged lunches. Part of our faith asks us to be of service to those less fortunate. I thought it would be nice to do a service project during CSW - students can actually be a part of serving others. My thanks in advance for your help in making this a reality. Mrs. Loewe’s class will also be making 40 lunches. 

It will be crazy busy this week, but never a dull moment in third grade. I’m glad that we are expecting warmer temperatures. Plan on students going out for recess. Find those boots, hats, and gloves. They will be needed if we are outside for 20 minutes. 


Mrs. Bucko

uary 16, 2024

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Thank you everyone for getting your child on zoom today!!! I know that we had some technical issues, but we worked through it. I was so proud of the focus during all 3 of our meetings. 


I updated my rubric for the author project. Students will be bringing it home for your signature tomorrow. I also posted it on this web page under links/forms. That sheet will stay in the homework folder while we continue to work on this project. Unless your child gets behind - this entire project will be done in class.


Students will be given their doc for their Young Author story tomorrow. They will spend a little time after lunch each day adding to this document. Students will have a few days that I'll be asking them to work on the story for homework, too. I need our stories completed by January 26. I'll be talking with students tomorrow in greater detail about my expectations. It is a short story - not a documentary. Mrs. Loewe and I have to read the stories and have winners submitted early in February. 


We will be starting the iReady diagnostic tomorrow. I hope that everyone comes well rested. Don't forget to pack a snack and make sure the fully charged chromebook makes it into the backpack with all the other papers from today. I can't wait for the students to show how much they have stretched their brains so far this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Have a nice evening,

Mrs. Bucko

January 15, 2024
laptop wave
Tomorrow, January 16, will be an e-learning day. Students should get all their materials together and be ready to join our first zoom of the day at 8:30. I will be letting students in the zoom at 8:25. We have practiced! Students should be independent. If a child is not at home - they may need an adult's help to get connected to the internet. Plug in those Chromebooks tonight so that they are fully charged. The backpack needs to be near the Chromebook. All our materials are in there. There is only 1 students who did not pick up the work on Thursday. Everyone else has all they need to have a great e-learning day. I will be taking attendance at all 3 zoom times. The schedule is on the schedules tab on the left. If there are any issues or questions students can use the stream on Google classroom to let me know. Once a zoom starts I will not be able to check my email until the zoom is over. The zoom link is on google classroom. The same link is used for all 3 zooms.
Mrs. Bucko

uary 13, 2024

bundle up

Baby, it’s cold outside! Winter definitely came in fast! We had a great day yesterday at school despite the snow and cold. Ms. Hanrahan even challenged the third graders to a snowball fight to end our day. Third grade did a great job leading the school in Mass. 

The remote learning packet that I sent home on Thursday will be used as part of instruction on Tuesday. I shifted my plans a bit to accommodate the possibility of going remote. Ms. Soch was extremely helpful working through our technical difficulties on Wednesday and Thursday. Students should be independent getting on our classroom zoom if we ever have an elearning day this year. Someone will just have to be a monitor and make sure that the third grader has a quiet space to complete independent work. 

Students should not be logging into iReady at home. The second diagnostic will start this coming week. That has to be completed at school. If someone went on at home - Ms. Owens would have to reset, and they’d have to start all over again. I’m just sharing because I know that several students are really working hard on completing the second grade math lessons that they still have left. 

That leads me to share how proud I am of the hard work coming from this class. I am daily “wowed” at the extra practice and determination. Your children are very lucky to be part of a class that doesn’t want to settle with mediocrity. They push each other to reach goals. They are also genuinely happy when a classmate meets a challenge. I LOVE THAT!!!

Our author research project is well underway. Almost every team completed the research notes and is working on their interview questions. I realized that I never sent home the guidelines for the project for parents. I adjusted part of the expectations. I will send out the new rubric this week for your signature. 

Students will start putting the first draft of their Young Author story on google docs. I know that some students are not very far in their composition. That is ok. We will be working on our stories for the next 2 weeks. 

We will continue into Tuesday and Wednesday talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. for social studies. Once that is done, we will begin our new science unit - Investigating Electrical Systems. This is a very hands-on unit that I developed for third grade. It is always a favorite.

We will continue working on multiplication. We spent quite a bit of time learning about the distributive property of multiplication. We have a project planned later this week to show what we know. We will also be continuing mini lessons on perimeter, area, and fractions. Reminder: If your child is still in addition or subtraction for Xtra math - they should go on Xtra math every night to increase their fluency. 

I am planning for our class to make 50 lunches for the homeless at the end of the month. I will be sending out a spreadsheet in an email that will allow you to donate an item for the lunches. Third grade hopes to do this again during Lent. If the spots fill up - I hope you will sign up for our second round of service later during Lent. Part of our faith is being of service to others. This is a direct action that every student can do.

Beyond the Books came home last week. Don’t forget to sign up if you are interested. 

Stay warm this weekend!

Mrs. Bucko

January 5, 2024

happy 2024 balloons
Happy New Year!!!

It is almost time to go back to school. Before we left for break we had to empty desks and bookcases so that all furniture could be moved for our floors to be cleaned and buffed. I will be putting furniture and supplies back in the classroom this weekend, but students will have to spend some time right away Monday morning putting all the materials back in their desks from their lockers. 

Please check in with your child that they still have pencils and other supplies. I know our classroom is on the last box of kleenex. I’d appreciate everyone bringing in a box during January. When I go in to set up the room I will be checking our supply of paper towels and clorox wipes. We wipe down our room at least once a day to keep everyone safe and healthy. I bought several bottles of hand sanitizer. 

I have a very busy week planned. Part of our language art block will be using the Storyworks magazine. We will be separating into teams for our author research project. We will also be spending some time working on our Young Author story drafts. We will be reviewing the grammar concepts we’ve learned the first half of the year. We will start Unit 8 vocabulary. Our spelling list will be words with three letter blends. 

Compassion and mercy will be our focus in religion. We will be in chapter 5 of our religion book. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and stories of St. Francis of Assisi is part of our study. This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany. We will bless our classroom door when we return. The third grade will be in charge of Friday’s mass. You are welcome to join us in this celebration. 

For social studies we will be learning a little more about Martin Luther King, Jr. Students will read, research, create timelines, and take notes. After the holiday we will move into our new science unit. 

In math we will be working on multiplication of large numbers. I will also be having mini lessons in the morning on a different topic each day. This week I hope to touch on composite and prime numbers, perimeter and area, fractions, and geometric shapes. We will also continue with timed fact tests and Xtra math practice. Thank you to all the students who have practiced Xtra math over break. I know that will keep skill sharp for our return. 4 students passed to the next level in Xtra math over the holiday. Congratulations!!! Reminder: Students who are still in the second grade addition and subtraction levels should be practicing every day.

We have an early dismissal this Wednesday. 

I’m sure that there are things that I’ve forgotten, but I have to get my house in gear before I head to school to put our room back together. I’ve really enjoyed this break. I hope your family has found time to spend with family and friends - and snuck in a little time for relaxation. 

See you Monday!!!


Mrs. Bucko

December 28, 2023

thank you

I hope that everyone had a blessed Christmas! 

I want to say a big thank you for thinking of me this holiday season!! You were very generous! I appreciated all the kind words and well wishes. 


Mrs. Bucko

merry christmas

December 16, 2023

snow globe wave

We have one more week until Christmas break! Below this letter I copied the student council activities for the week. Make sure to read. 

On Monday afternoon Mrs. Loewe and I will be hosting a hot cocoa party for the third grade. The invitation was posted on google classroom. Your child can show you.

On Wednesday we will have a run through of the Christmas concert in the afternoon. Our big performance is at night!  Students report to our classroom at 6:45. Mr. Caffee should have shared what they should wear. It’s usually nice Christmas clothes. I’ll double check and have students write it in their assignment book. 

On Thursday afternoon our room parents will be hosting some Christmas fun. Your child should have already sent in a picture to school for a project they’ll be working on that afternoon. 

On Friday we will gather for Mass in the morning. Dismissal is at 11:30.

I love the discussions in religion with the study of the Jesse Tree. We need more days to complete the lineage than December offers. We will continue learning about the ancestors and their stories into January. We move out of the book of Genesis and into Exodus this week. 

Math Mania continues!!! The majority of the room has been pushing themselves to memorize facts to increase their scores. Thank you to everyone at home that is quizzing and giving opportunities for practice. My hope was that everyone finished through 5x’s before break. I’m challenging the class to complete multiplication in Xtra math before Catholic Schools Week in January. We will have an assessment on unit 4 on Wednesday this week - multiplication with 0 - 5x’s. 

We will be reading Stone Fox all week - finishing on Thursday. Students will keep the book and packet in their homework folder. If your child misses any days this week they can read the two chapters for the day and complete the comprehension questions. I know I mentioned it before, but if you have time to read over Christmas this book is such a beautiful story - and quick read. 

There will be no spelling list this week. We didn’t get a chance to take the assessment on Unit 7 vocabulary. I’ve scheduled it for this Tuesday. We will be reviewing grammar concepts from the beginning of the year. 

Students will be working on adding to their Young Author story. I’d like them to complete their first draft by January 12.  I’m having them write out their first draft in their writing folder. The second week of January students will be putting their story on google docs. It is a short story - not a chapter book. I should be able to see a beginning, middle, and end to their work. Most students wrote 2 - 5 pages last year. When we put it in docs it will be longer with space for pictures.  Students will be taking their writing folders home for break. 

When we return from break, students will be taking the second diagnostic for iReady. I’m excited to see them show the growth they achieved in the first half of this year. 

I know that there will be a lot of excitement this week. I have a full week of learning planned. My focus will continue to be preparing our hearts for Jesus. 


Mrs. Bucko

December 9, 2023

winter holiday tinsel and lights

What a week!!! Students really pushed themselves to meet their goals. A majority of the class has passed all the multiplication fact tests through 5’s. I reopened Xtra math for those students in multiplication. There was improvement from every student in the room! We even had 2 students promoted to the 4th grade division level. 

In iReady reading and math students should have completed 24 lessons in both - if they completed 2 lessons each week since the diagnostic. Many are well beyond that number. One fourth of the room rushed through reading lessons this week and failed enough to get flagged for individual instruction. iReady is not a race. Once students get into third grade reading material it takes a lot more concentration. Almost everyone that has moved into third grade material has failed a few lessons. I found that most continued with instruction when they didn’t really understand and then took a quiz and failed. I don’t want them continuing when they don’t understand the concept being taught. We talked about this on Friday. I do have to say that students who were having difficulties a few weeks ago are now doing amazing independently because they slowed things down. They are passing lessons because they ask for clarification or come up for a quick lesson with me before the quiz. You can ask your child to show you lessons completed and their scores at any time. They just log into iReady. I am asking students who still have first and second grade material to cover to try and complete 3 lessons each week in that subject. Everyone will have a conference with a parent one day this next week for homework.

With the start of Advent comes the study of the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is a Catholic tradition that introduces Jesus’ ancestors. The Jesse Tree is named for Jesse, the father of King David. Stories from the Old Testament are told, and participants create symbols to hang on Jesus’ family tree. Each student has their own paper Jesse Tree, and then we have a large tree in our religion corner. I’m hoping that students will come home this week sharing some of the stories from scripture. 

Spelling words will be long e words. We wrap up Unit 7 in vocabulary and take the assessment on Thursday. Grammar lessons continue with irregular plural nouns. 

We will start our new literature unit on Thursday. We will be reading Stone Fox. We will be reading 2 chapters each day and answering comprehension questions for homework. It is a really beautiful story if you’d like to read along. 

This coming week we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe on Tuesday. We celebrate St. Lucy on Wednesday. We have early dismissal this week. Students can wear spirit wear. 

I want everyone to be healthy for the holiday. Please practice good health habits. 


Mrs. Bucko

December 2, 2023

happy december

Our class had a great week of learning! I gave them a math challenge on Monday. They worked in teams of 4 to figure out if they could spend exactly $2.31 on different food items. I didn’t give them calculators until Thursday - to check their work. There were 12 possible ways that they could solve the problem. My hope was that each group could figure out 2-3 different ways to spend their money. The math discussions going on were so inspiring! They’d get $2.30 or $2.35 and then have to go back and figure out what they needed to do differently. I will be posing different math challenges throughout the year in hopes that they grow and stretch their brains - developing life skills on solving problems. 

Friday afternoon I introduced a new math game that is my favorite - Block It! Now that students have some multiplication and division knowledge they can use that to add to the strategy of the game. I will be sending the game home this next week to play with an adult or older sibling. 

Our stories in the reader this past week gave information about landmarks, monuments, and memorials. We read about the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. We will continue this week reading grid maps to locate monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C.. We also matched states and capitals. There are geography activities that I’ve put on google classroom for students to work on when they finish work early. 

This week students will be introduced to “Anansi” and folktales.  We will be reading several African and Jamaican folktales. This is one of my favorite units. Some of the stories will be in their reader and others on Epic. We will be covering several reading skills: characterization, predicting, sequencing, inference, and compare/contrast.

We started story writing for our Young Author story. We will be creative writing the next few weeks. I will give more direction as we work on creative writing in December. Students will be given time in class, but they can also choose to write if they complete work early or work on it at home. 

I also shared with students that next week they will be choosing an author that they will be researching in January. We will form small groups, 2-3 students, that have a similar interest and reading level. In December each group will be reading books by that author they’ve chosen. 

We will start unit 7 in vocabulary this week. We will wrap up plural nouns in grammar and start with irregular plural nouns. Our spelling words will be long i and long u words. 

Our class visits the Santa Shop on Wednesday. 

I’ve had several questions about morning work. When students come into the classroom they work on correcting 2 sentences before they move on to their iReady math track. We correct those sentences each day. Students are allowed to change any incorrect answers. Friday is the only day we don’t go back and correct together. Ideally everyone should only have a few mistakes each week. Right now the skills being reviewed are capitalization, end marks, and misspelling of words they should know. I hope that answers any questions.

Mr. Haneberg visited our classroom this past week and talked about an optional reading incentive that students can take part in. A few students have completed the entire iReady reading track in junior high. They have developed a reading challenge on the book Matilda by Roald Dahl. I’m sharing with you because I know several students wanted to take part. This is totally optional. 

Multiplication fact practice has begun!!! Chapter 4 focuses on 0-5 facts. We already kicked off our multiplication sweets fact challenge. I’ll be testing on 2 - 5x’s. Then we will stop until the next math chapter. I’ve posted sites students can go on to practice on our google classroom stream.

Because iReady lessons are individualized, students are at all different levels in the classroom. This poses a challenge at times. I have had to teach several mini lessons on material we haven’t gotten to yet. That’s a challenge I don’t mind taking on. I’ve also encouraged students who tested below grade level to try and complete more than 2 lessons a week. Our next diagnostic will be sometime in January.

Advent begins tomorrow! Our classroom has been getting Advent folders ready. We will be studying the Jesse Tree - the family tree of Jesus during this season. We will be covering stories from creation to Jesus’ birth. Students will keep a Jesse Tree up in the classroom and add ornaments to the tree each day that represent the story that we read in class. We will also be doing acts of kindness to show that we are preparing our hearts for Jesus’ birth. I hope that you see a difference in your child during this Advent season.

I know that this month can be hectic. I’m hoping to slow things down so that we take time to appreciate the many blessings that we’ve been given. 


Mrs. Bucko

November 24, 2023

fri yay

I hope that everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving Day!!! As I sit here with my morning coffee I feel very blessed!

Students presented to another class on Tuesday. All 4 groups got a good review from the teacher in that classroom. Their Life in Pilgrim Times booklet will come home over the next two weeks so that parents can see the finished product. 

Since we are now in the second trimester - parents won’t have to sign assignment books nightly anymore. If I find that a student isn’t writing things down or doesn’t have homework completed, I will require that specific child to go back to that routine. 

We will wrap up the understanding multiplication and division chapter this next week. The assessment is scheduled for Thursday. Students will move into multiplication fact memorization. There will be practice nightly as part of their homework. In iReady there have been several students who have already been working on not only fact practice, but the distributive property of multiplication. I think the next 2 chapters will move quickly because so many students have already been practicing. The work that I’ve been assigning in Prodigy has also been multiplication related. 

In language arts we will be spending quite a bit of time on identifying key ideas and details in a text. Our stories are nonfiction this week. Many will be on monuments and memorials. This will combine with social studies again. Students will also work on text features. There will be a slide deck assigned on google classroom to reinforce the lesson. Spelling and phonics practice will be words with long o. Grammar skill will be regular plural nouns. We will complete Unit 6 in vocabulary and take the assessment at the end of the week. 

In religion we will move back into chapter 4 in our text. The theme for this chapter is God our Father. This is the last week of ordinary time. December 3 marks the beginning of Advent. I’m in the works of setting up a service project for the third grade during December - more details coming next week. 

Report cards will come home on Monday when we return. Please return the envelope the following day with your signature. You keep the report card at home. There will be a lot more new material this next trimester. Please continue to keep routines with homework. This month gets really busy. Sports and extracurricular activities are not an excuse for incomplete work. I want to keep our class moving in a positive direction.

Don't forget to turn in December beyond the books form on Monday. It's only 2 weeks - $20.

Enjoy your weekend - I know I will!


Mrs. Bucko

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November 19, 2023

thankful for you

There are two busy days left until the holiday weekend. I have planned a lot of fun learning activities with a Thanksgiving theme. 

Students will work in teams to complete math tasks in a turkey themed escape room. The math tasks will involve multiplication this time. We will be completing notes in our math journals that include all the strategies that we’ve learned with multiplication and division. 

There is a text structure activity that uses nonfiction text about Thanksgiving. Several students have been getting questions in iReady in regards to text structure. We will be reviewing and practicing activities this week and the week we return from the holiday. 

We will be reading books from our November bin and on epic. Students will work on summarizing with “Somebody, Wanted, But, So” activity sheets. 

I need all students who haven’t passed Xtra math to do a daily practice - even over the holiday weekend. We will start the multiplication level for the second trimester next week. 

Life in Pilgrim Times projects are printed and ready to be bound. Each group will get to present to our classroom Monday - and then go to another classroom on Tuesday. Homework on Monday will be to show their parents the finished group slide deck. The booklet will rotate to be brought home after the holiday break. Students researched, took notes, created paragraphs and illustrations, typed on docs, and imported on slides to create a group slide deck for presentation. I am so proud that third graders were able to do so many tasks!!!

On Tuesday Mrs. Loewe and I will be combining the boys and girls again for STEM activities. This time Mrs. Loewe will take the math and in our classroom there will be an engineering challenge. 

We combined both third grades on Friday afternoon for learning fun. All 48 played Thanksgiving Gobble Bump. Then we played Blooket challenges on pronouns and Thanksgiving trivia. Thanksgiving Gobble Bump will go home over the holiday weekend to play with someone. 

I was so happy that so many families took the time to read together last Thursday for Illinois Family Reading Night.  Thank you for all the pictures. The bulletin board outside our classroom door has all the pictures from that night. Sometimes it takes a required reading night to remind us how important it is for our kids to see us read, too. 

There were a few students who had reached 30 lessons in iReady before the end of the trimester. I thought no one would reach that number. I was wrong. 7 students will be able to “PIE FACE” their teacher on Tuesday. I guess I won’t be wearing makeup that day!!! I appreciate the push to fill in the missing piece in their learning. 

Our hamster friend, Humphrey, started coming home with a student this weekend. I actually bought a second cage and Humphrey so that two students will be able to bring him home each weekend. Students write about the adventures Humphrey has while at their house. If you could take a few pictures and send to my email when it is your turn - that would be great! There is a calendar in our classroom so that students know when it is their turn to take Humphrey home. We create a book of his adventures later this spring.

We will be taking down our ofrenda tomorrow. Pictures and prayer cards will come home in book bags. 

Don’t forget to turn in Beyond the Books forms before we leave for the holiday.

This week as I reflect on my blessings, I am thankful for my third grade family. I am grateful for your love and support! I hope that this week brings you happiness being with family and friends - and good food!


Mrs. Bucko

November 12, 2023


This is the last week of the trimester. Grading will end on Friday. I’ll be working on behavior report cards during the week. Report cards will go home the Monday we return from Thanksgiving break. 

Groups will begin working on forming good paragraphs for their Life in Pilgrim Times report. They will also be creating illustrations to be included once their part is printed. I know that students want to create a slide deck for presentation, but they need to finish the written report first. Students will be bringing paragraphs home for a proofread before they start typing on docs. 

We will continue working on pronouns in grammar. We have been reviewing vocabulary unit 5. The assessment will be on Tuesday. Spelling words for the week will be long a. 

I did a morning review of subtraction and found that we needed to go back and review again. Students took a quiz on Thursday afternoon. They did much better!

We have started multiplication. Students will be working on memorizing facts. Students will begin testing on facts after we return from the holiday. There are still a few students who have not passed the second grade addition and subtraction Xtra math levels. Those students need to do Xtra math daily.

Our golden ticket was pulled last week so our class can be out of uniform this Wednesday, November 15. 

Our classroom will attend the Book Fair Friday, November 17 after Mass.

Thank you to everyone that came to the family mass. It’s always nice to come together as a faith community. 


Mrs. Bucko

November 4, 2023

Many thanks

A big thank you to all the moms that came on Monday for our classroom Halloween party! The kids really enjoyed it! They also enjoyed combining with the Loewe’s on Tuesday. Mrs. Loewe did a science experiment and we played Boo Bump in our classroom. 

I was so proud of the amazing job that our third graders did hosting the All Saints Day Mass. Adults kept visiting our classroom on Wednesday to congratulate the students on such a nice job. 

We set up our ofrenda. It’s nice listening to students share who the people are in the pictures and prayer cards. 

Students moved into their groups for the Life in Pilgrim Times report. We will continue researching this coming week. The following week we will be forming good paragraphs. 

The iReady progress continues. I did speak with the class about not working on iReady at home unless they are absent. Hopefully your child was able to share their progress with their data chat this week. 

We will continue working on Unit 5 in vocabulary. These will also be our spelling words this week. We continue working on pronouns in grammar. 

We are working on understanding multiplication in math. Students will be creating posters to show their understanding. Students that have not passed the addition and subtraction levels of Xtra math will have extra practice for homework each night. 

This week we have an early dismissal on Wednesday and no school on Friday. Teachers will be continuing their professional development. 


Mrs. Bucko

October 28, 2023

happy halloween

I hope that everyone had fun at trunk or treat last night. I know our classroom was so excited! The sun did try to peek out at the last minute - at least the rain held out. 

We completed reading The World According to Humphrey yesterday. In the book Humphrey goes home with a different student each weekend. He writes about the adventures he has when he is at their house. We will be doing that in our classroom starting next weekend. Don’t worry. Humphrey is a stuffed hamster, and his cage won’t need to be cleaned. I will read some of the entries in Humphrey’s notebook from a previous class so that students understand. I would appreciate a few pictures sent to my email while he is at your home. We will be creating a classroom book at the end of the year - including all his adventures from Room 211. 

Our classroom slogan for Red Ribbon Week is “Hang with Me, Be Drug Free! “. It tied in with our research of bats and spiders. Staying healthy and being true to ourselves will be part of our discussion in science.

We have been mentoring younger students in the building. On Thursday both third grades assisted Pre-K in putting skeletons together. On Friday Mrs. Zawaski’s class came to our room to play Boo Bump (a math game). Tomorrow Mrs. Duh’s class will be coming to our room to play. I think it’s important for students to learn to be of service to their community and school. The younger students loved being with our class!

Spelling words will be words with final e. We are taking the Unit 4 vocabulary test tomorrow - we didn’t have time on Friday. We will work on pronouns in grammar. Our language arts activities and lessons will be Halloween themed on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday we will return to our Wonders reader. Our comprehension skill will be sequencing. 

Our class will be leading the parish and school for Mass on Wednesday at 10:00. Our special procession will be saints that represent the beatitudes. I am excited that our class will be able to share a little about these 8 amazing saints. All Saints Day Mass will also be the kick off point of our study of the lives of the saints. We hope that many of you can join us on this holy day. 

Our room will transition on Wednesday for Dia de los Muertos. We celebrate All Souls Day on Thursday. Our ofrenda and decorations will be up for the first weeks of November. We will include all the family and friends in pictures and prayer cards in our daily prayers.  

Part of homework on Wednesday students will be sharing their iReady progress. Students have been working above and beyond to make sure that they fill in missing pieces. I was so proud to share this with Ms. Owens.

We are transitioning into the understanding multiplication chapter in math. Some students have already had many of these lessons in iReady. Because we are moving into multiplication - those students who have not passed addition or subtraction in Xtra math will have to  practice daily for homework after this week. Both beginning levels are second grade mastery. 

In social studies students will be moved into groups for their Life in Pilgrim Times report. The rubric for this project will come home later this week for your signature. 

Tomorrow we will have a Halloween celebration with our room mom and helpers. If you purchased candy or other items for your child to pass out to classmates - tomorrow is the day. 

Tuesday is Halloween. Students can be in costumes. If they have accessories to their costumes, we talked about them staying in their locker until our parade at 1:00. We will also gather as a school for a spirit filled assembly. I believe that I will be playing musical chairs with other teachers! 

Mrs. Loewe and I will also be combining our classes to participate in math and science activities in our rooms Tuesday morning. The boys will be joining me in the early morning for math activities, while the girl are with Mrs. Loewe for science. Then we will switch again just before lunch. We try to do STEM days several times a year.

We are always busy in third grade, but this week we have a party, costumes, candy, assembly, Mass, new projects, room transformations, etc. I know that these things bring on extra excitement. I hope that you will reinforce the fact that we still have things to learn and study along with these fun activities. 


Mrs. Bucko

October 21, 2023

a pile of autumn leaves

Grandparents/Grandfriends Day was a big hit!!! Our classroom was packed the entire hour. We demonstrated expanding and decomposing numbers, interviewed our guests, completed various math center cards, and played a game of blooket! Look at our pictures on the classroom learning photos tab. 

This past week we read and discussed the first 9 chapters from The World According to Humphrey. We should complete the book this Friday. There are 15 chapters in all. Ask your child this week to tell you about all the things Humphrey has done to help out his classmates in Room 26 at Longfellow School. 

Our spelling words will be unit 4 vocabulary words. We completed unit 4 pages and will review to test at the end of the week. We will wrap up adverbs and begin on pronouns in grammar.

We finished our novena for the unborn and their mothers on Friday. Mary’s arms are full of babies. Our class is taking the prayers very seriously. We will continue to say the rosary with our hallmates and say extra Hail Marys in our classroom for the remainder of the month. 

Our class is planning the All Saints Day mass on November 1. We will be having a special procession of saints. We hope that some of you may be able to join us on this holy day. 

We will also be creating an ofrenda. An ofrenda is an altar, built to honor lost loved ones. Offerings are placed upon the ofrenda, to help us remember, learn about, and celebrate their lives. Students can bring pictures in frames, prayer cards, or pictures in a zip bag of someone close to them that has passed. We are not including pets. Pictures can be brought in any day this week. We will set up our ofrenda at the end of the week.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about bats! Students did a lot of research. They read books, watched videos, and took notes. This week we will be researching spiders. We will also do a Mystery Science lesson on bones. 

We will wrap up our math chapter on addition and subtraction on Friday. I’m still learning about the new program that we’ve adopted. A lot of the work we have been doing is in class so that I can directly see that they understand the strategies. We have also been working on understanding multiplication. Some students have been getting those lessons in iReady. Xtra math has been going well. We will continue daily practice in school until November 3. After that, students who haven’t passed both addition and subtraction levels will have practice nightly for homework. 

There has been significant progress in iReady reading and math. I am so proud of students wanting to fill in their missing pieces. Students will be coming home one day this week to conference with you and explain how they’ve been doing. You’ll be signing their assignment book when it is part of homework. 

Please check in with your child in regards to supplies. Some students are already out of pencils. They’ve gone through 48 of mine, too. A few students mentioned they didn’t have a highlighter or art supplies. It really is only a few students that need these items. 

Wednesday, October 25 kicks off Red Ribbon Week. Student Council has some fun things planned. The information is included below.

Thank you for the birthday wishes! It was a really nice day!


Mrs. Bucko

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tober 15, 2023

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Hello everyone! I’m excited for this coming week because we will start our first chapter book with literature circles. I will be reading The World According to Humphrey with them during the day. Students will be rereading 2 chapters every night for homework and answering comprehension questions. I will post a read aloud on google classroom each day so that students don’t have to read the entire part on their own. There are usually 4 to 6 questions each night. This will be our routine for the next two weeks or so. Students will gather in their literature circle and discuss the comprehension questions from homework. If your child is absent during these next two weeks - please read to them so that they don’t fall behind - or have them put on the read aloud on their chromebook while resting. We make a promise to not read ahead. It will help when they are asked to predict what they think will happen next. If we only get to one chapter during the day students will have that written down in their assignment book. 

Spelling words will be the days of the week and months of the year - continued from last week. We will start Unit 4 in vocabulary. Our grammar focus will be on adverbs.

We will be working on subtraction with regrouping and subtraction with zero. Many students had difficulty with making sure the bigger number was on top. (They were subtracting bottom up instead of regrouping.) Most of our math work will be done in class this week. I want to make sure they understand what to do. Students will continue to work on Xtra math if they have not passed the addition and subtraction levels.

October is the month of the rosary. Our third grade classes are working on creating a large rosary to decorate the hallway bulletin board on our floor. We will gather as a floor to say a decade of the rosary on Tuesday morning. We are getting so much better at knowing the correct words to these prayers. Students will be given an oral test on Hail Mary, Our Father, and Glory Be before the end of the month. 

Students started research on bats this past week. Our science lessons will continue with reading, taking notes, watching videos, and composing a good paragraph to share what they’ve learned. 

Wednesday is Grandfriends Day in the afternoon. Students can invite a special person to visit our classroom 1:30 - 2:30 this Wednesday. It should be a fun afternoon to spend with someone special. Mrs. Owens included more specific information in the Charger Check-in. 

I just started a pot of soup on the stove, put on a comfy sweatshirt, and look forward to cuddling under a blanket to watch football and read my book. I hope you get to do something you love.   


Mrs. Bucko

October 7, 2023

happy october

Waking up to today’s weather was definitely a change! We had to run the air conditioning in our classroom all week. I’ll be happy to open up the windows!

Thank you for your attendance at conferences on Thursday. I am so glad to see families putting our partnership as a priority. In a few weeks students will be having conferences with you as part of their homework. 

Yesterday I spent 8 hours with the other teachers and staff completing training in EBRS (evade, barricade, resist, survive) from Beacon Training Group. It was intense! 

Students are so close to passing their Xtra math levels. I want all students to pass both addition and subtraction by the end of the month. Those are second grade levels. We will move to multiplication in November. If your child is still at the beginning levels of addition they should be doing an extra round at night for practice. I shared at conferences that students can do a round each day of this long weekend. 

Our math skills in the whole group lesson will be using horizontal and vertical formats to add partial sums, decomposing a number in different ways to subtract, adding and subtracting 3-digit numbers with regrouping. 

We reviewed vocabulary unit 3 words all week. The assessment will be this Wednesday. We will be working on adverbs in grammar. Our spelling words will be days of the week and months of the year. 

In religion we will be working on prayer. We will be doing activities with the words to Our Father and Hail Mary. We will gather as a floor to say a decade of the rosary together on Tuesday. Mrs. Loewe’s class will lead us. Students are welcome to bring in a rosary from home. 

We will continue with the Storyworks3 magazine this next week for reading. Students did a great job looking for proof in the story that their answers were correct. This week we will compare and contrast two texts. We will also be reading a play. Students enjoyed worked in groups to enact one of the plays this past week. 

If you choose to take your child out of school on a regularly scheduled day - students will still be expected to complete work they missed when they return. I do not give work in advance. 

Monday we will be off for the holiday. Wednesday will be spirit wear with a 1:00 dismissal. Friday will be Walk-a-thon and hot dog lunch with a DJ. We will be busy making sure that we accomplish all the learning activities that I’ve planned for the week. 

Enjoy the long weekend,

Mrs. Bucko

September 30, 2023


Apples, apples, apples!!! This was a great week celebrating the birthday of Johnny Appleseed! We started off reading Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg. He is such a gifted illustrator, too. His pictures surely reinforce the genre “tall tale”. Students chose their other book to read about Johnny Appleseed on epic. We spent quite a bit of time using text evidence to support our answers when discussing and answering questions from the books we read. Third graders are getting much better at that. We watched 2 videos on Mystery Science. One of them went into great detail about all the different kinds of apples that are on our planet. We learned that the largest apple is called Hakuto. The other video helped explain why apples come in different colors. Our science extension activity was creating an apple trapper. I’ll let your children explain in greater detail. There are so many pictures in our photo gallery. The classroom counter has been a display area of our own favorite apples. Most students brought in honey crisp,but we had golden delicious, red delicious, pink lady, and granny smith. We had a taste test on sweet and sour apples - and which ones we prefer. Thanks to Mrs. Loewe for cutting up all our taste test samples. Yesterday we put our favorite apples in the crockpot with water, sugar, and cinnamon. Our room smelled amazing all day! We enjoyed getting to sample our homemade applesauce at the end of the day. I now have a crockpot of applesauce going in my own house. 

This next week we'll be using our Storyworks3 magazine for reading. Our nonfiction read will be about the great Chicago fire. The main author of the magazine is Lauren Tarshis. She writes the I Survived chapter book series. 

We will not be having a spelling test this week. We just finished the Unit 3 vocabulary unit. We’ll be spending this week reviewing the words. In grammar we’ll be finishing up on adjectives and moving into adverbs. 

During October part of our religion focus will be on the rosary and respecting all life. We will be gathering as a floor on Tuesdays to pray a decade of the rosary. Our class will lead this first week. Students are welcome to bring in a rosary from home this month. I do have a whole set of rosaries for our class to use. Yesterday was the feast of the archangels. Monday is the feast day of guardian angels. St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Francis of Assisi have feast days this week. 

I’m so proud of the growth mindset among the majority of the class with math fact practice. Every day there is improvement. There was a new math series purchased. Our class will be transitioning into that this coming week. I’m still learning about all the different components in the program. We will start in unit 2. It continues with number sense and addition and subtraction properties and strategies.

We start wearing uniforms this week. Our gym days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please make sure that your child is leaving in the proper attire. This week we had a few pairs of crazy socks, fake nails, and excessive jewelry.  

Congratulations to Luke! He is our first Charger of the Month.

I’m excited that I will be seeing you all face to face on Thursday. I will be going over the diagnostic results from iReady and letting you know what to expect in the next month of third grade. If you have specific things you’d like to ask me about - write it down. We only have 10 minutes. That time goes very fast, and I want to make sure that your questions get answered. 

Enjoy the sunshine!


Mrs. Bucko

September 21, 2023

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Today we kicked off homecoming weekend with an all school assembly. Third grade had a lot of fun!

I am thrilled about the big push to improve math skills. The excitement in daily score advancement continues with Xtra math. We started iReady math lessons while our last students completed the diagnostic test. 100% of students passed all of their lessons. We even made our weekly goal in 3 days! We took part 2 of the place value and number sense math test. Everyone did well on showing their mastery of rounding. We will work this coming week on addition with and without regrouping. Students have already shown that we won’t be in this chapter very long!

The entire class got 100% on today’s spelling test!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next week our spelling words will be the unit 3 vocabulary words. We are starting that unit this next week,  and we will be out of our Wonders reader. 

Students brought their reader home this weekend. I’d like them to read Yoon and the Jade Bracelet one more time before Monday. (I did officially assign it on a Thursday.)

We celebrate the birthday of Johnny Appleseed next week. I’d like students to bring in 1 apple by Thursday - if they are able. Most of them will be for a project at the end of the week, some will be used for taste testing. It would be helpful if the student knew the name of the apple. We will be reading multiple tall tales and biographies about Johnny Appleseed. Our science lessons will be all about apples. 

I have had a few students use the excuse - I didn’t complete my homework because I was too busy. I have told them that that is never an excuse unless there was a family emergency. As I informed you at parent night - I don’t give a lot of homework. So, I expect what I do assign is on time and done well.  Please help reinforce this message at home. On a positive note… I have been very impressed that a majority of the class remembers every day to charge their chromebook, complete their homework, and turn work in when they come to the classroom. 

Remember to mark Thursday, October 5 on your calendar. That is the night you get to spend time with me talking about your amazing child. That is two weeks from today. I will be sharing iReady diagnostic results with you on that day and let you know what to look for in the coming weeks. 


Mrs. Bucko

September 17, 2023

have a great day

Hello family! I can hardly believe that this week marks one month together. I’m glad that I can say that it’s been a good start.

We completed our first story week in Wonders. Instead of a typical test, I had students work in teams. They answered the multiple choice questions independently and then had a discussion about why that was the correct answer. The final question was a short answer. Students were asked to choose a character trait for the main character and then support their answer with proof from the text. I was blown away by the discussions happening at each table. Some students used a direct quote - others explained a certain scene that the character acted in that way. Character traits is a reading skill that will be part of our program throughout the year. Right now they have a few adjectives to describe characters - that vocabulary will grow as the year goes on. Two of the stories we read references a similarity from a story they had read in second grade. Again - blown away that they had remembered the fable and could use it to compare with the story in third grade. 

We also worked with the spelling, phonics, and vocabulary activities that are part of the Wonders program. Word work is part of our weekly routine. I want to make sure that we are filling in any missing pieces from previous grades.

On Wednesday we celebrated Roald Dahl Day! September 13 is his birthday. Kids around the world do all sorts of things to celebrate this amazing author. Our class is reading George’s Marvelous Medicine when we are taking breaks between subjects. We will be reading larger chapter books written by Mr. Dahl later in the year. 

On Friday we celebrated International Dot Day. The Dot was written by Peter H. Reynolds. It is all about having a growth mindset and making your mark on the world. If you haven’t read it there are several read alouds on you tube. It is short. Our dot art gallery is hanging on the back wall of the room and on our lockers. I’ll take pictures to post tomorrow. The Dot celebrated 20 years since being published. We have  a growth mindset activity that we will complete on this book tomorrow.

We only have 1 student left to complete the iReady diagnostic. I hope to start chats with students this week to discuss how they did and the goals we can work towards this year. I will be discussing the iReady results with parents during part of our parent teacher conference time. The results are very similar to the last two classes I’ve had.

Spelling words will be short e, o, and u this week. Our grammar skill will be adjectives. We have completed unit 2 in vocabulary and review this week for a test the following week.

I had planned on taking a math test on the second half of chapter 1 this past Friday. The test is scheduled for this Tuesday. It is mainly rounding numbers to nearest ten and hundred. Students did extremely well when we did our review on Friday.

I’m sure that you’ve heard about the math game Prodigy. It is fun, but the students are practicing the skills we are working on in the classroom. I can assign specific objectives for the problems that they receive in the game. Several items they had never done before in regards to addition. When adding larger numbers students are asked to expand the numbers first and then add them. I think everyone got function tables. Finding the rule for the function table was challenging - or filling in the missing number of a function table. Once students worked with me independently they were able to go ahead and work on their own. Prodigy is something we do when other required math tasks are completed. 

Each day after morning work students sign in to Xtra math. They get a progress quiz, and then they race the teacher. The progress quiz only moves them ahead once a day, but they can still practice Xtra math at home to get better at racing the teacher. Their daily goal is to get on green each day. Green - gives correct answers in a timely manner. Yellow - has a few mistakes. Red - has several incorrect answers. Once a student passes the addition level they move right on to the subtraction level. Once the subtraction level is complete students are done with Xtra math for now. We already have 1 student done with both levels - and several close behind. We will work on Xtra math addition and subtraction until September 29. My hope is that everyone is complete by then. Your student can do a practice and show you how many problems they have left in their grid. 

This week our group math lesson will be adding large numbers and estimating sums. Mrs. Tesmond will be taking small groups to practice rounding and introducing them to new math centers for Friday. 

On Wednesday it was the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary. We learned to draw the Marian symbol with a guided draw. The symbols are going to be decorating our classroom door this week. When we were at Church on Friday it was the feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. I asked Fr. Fred to come over to our class after Mass. On his stole was an embroidered Marian symbol that we had just learned to draw!!! This week in religion we will focus on the sacraments of initiation; Baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation. 

We have a homecoming assembly on Thursday afternoon. The entire school will gather together to celebrate our chargers! On Friday teachers will have professional development with other teachers in the Archdiocese. Students will have a long weekend. 

We will be switching seats this week. I usually move table groups every 3-4 weeks. 

Have a great week!


Mrs. Bucko

September 8, 2023

Bitmoji Image

Why does a four day week always seem longer than a regular week?

We started off Monday learning more about one of my favorite saints - Mother Teresa. I hope your child was able to share something new they learned about this amazing woman. Many of my favorite quotes line the back of our classroom. Her simple words of doing ordinary things with extraordinary love are what I try to live my own life by. 

Today was the nativity of Mary. We started off by going to Mass. We sang beautiful songs about our mother. Yesterday we cut apart all the words to the Hail Mary. Today we worked to put the words back in their correct order. Sometimes we just say the words to prayers and don’t realize what we are actually saying. I want students to know their prayers - I also want them to understand what they are saying. 

Today everyone completed their first google form assigned on google classroom. I split the first math chapter into two parts and created a google form to test what we’ve learned so far. They learned how to submit and then check that their assignment was turned in. I’m taking small steps because I know this is all new. 

We already have 7 students who have passed the addition level of Xtra math this first week. We have 1 student who has passed the subtraction level. We will be doing a round of Xtra math each morning. Students race the teacher to see how many correct problems they can get in a row. I love hearing, “I got 5 - then I got 12.”  “I got 10 - now I got 18.” “I got 55.” “I got 63.”

We finished reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School today. I will be reading different genres this year in hopes to inspire a love of reading in all my students. 

We completed our first unit test in vocabulary. We completed our first grammar test on nouns. We took our first spelling test. We had our first fire drill. (They were amazing!)

I’m hoping that students have a better understanding of my expectations and routines now. Grades have been posted on Powerschool and the work folder came home today. Make sure to take out the papers and sign the sheet on the left side of the folder. Folders should be returned on Monday.

We will continue with the iReady diagnostic this week. I would guess that we would be done before the end of the week. Students are anxious to discuss how they did. 

Looking ahead… We have Patriot Day on Monday, Roald Dahl Day on Wednesday, and International Dot Day on Friday. 

Please continue to encourage good practices at home by charging chromebooks and putting chromebooks in the bookbag in the morning.


Mrs. Bucko

September 2, 2023

happy september

I had a wedding yesterday of a past student. There were “kids” in their teens, twenties, and even thirties there that I had taught. It was so fun to visit and dance with all of them. It was particularly nice to be able to share what a nice group of students I have this year!

Thank you to everyone who came to parent night on Wednesday!!! I walked out with Ms. Hanrahan at the end of the night and was extremely happy to let her know that 23 out of 24 students were represented. That is amazing!!! 

We started the iReady diagnostic on Wednesday. Half of the class finished the reading section and will move on to the math section on Tuesday. We will continue testing throughout this next week. When everyone has completed the diagnostic I will sit down with each student and create goals for the year.

I informed everyone on parent night that each week there is a different grammar concept. This past week it was nouns. Students are presented with the concept, create an interactive notebook page, write with the concept, participate in a scoot review activity, and then take a short quiz at the end of the week. I found it easier when things are broken up into smaller pieces. Next week it will be verbs. The routine stays the same all year with the opportunity to add extra review elements. This week students read 2 books on nouns with a quiz attached on epic. They also played a noun game on sheppard software with their chromebooks. Everyone that was here on Friday did very well on their first quiz.

The vocabulary book has 10 words in each unit. We have completed the first unit. We will review on Tuesday and Wednesday and then take a test on Thursday. There is an online practice quiz and several different game choices for review on vocabulary workshop. I have created a link for students in google classroom. We have been there twice already.

The class has really enjoyed getting acquainted with their chromebooks. Thank you for taking the time to create a routine of charging them every night. Students have been asking if it’s ok at night to go on the programs that we use during the day for review. The answer is yes! This week we will be logging into the programs attached to the Wonders book. 

We had our first spelling pretest on Friday since we won’t be in class this Monday. There are 15 short a and short i words. The words are in their homework folders - in case your child is someone who needs several days to review spelling words. We will have a test of those words on Friday.

This coming week we celebrate the feast day of one of my favorite saints - St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa). Her feast day is September 5th. September 8 is the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My intention is that your child will be coming home to share what they learn about their faith on special days like these. Maybe they’ll teach you something new!

Our first unit in math is all about place value and number sense. They are remembering a lot - which I’m very excited about. We started on a fact practice program, Xtra math. I am having them pass the second grade addition and subtraction levels for review this first month. We already have 2 students who completed the addition level already. Every day they take a practice quiz and then they race the teacher. They are given only one quiz a day, but they can go on Xtra math for extra practice at any time. I know it can be frustrating to be timed, but it is at a second grade level. This is not part of their grade at the moment - just practice.

We will be doing a team building activity for science this week. Our social studies focus will be on oceans and continents. Yesterday afternoon teams worked together to participate in a geography challenge. I want to get them used to reading a map and locating specific places. 

I have a busy week planned. You will find that third graders don’t have a lot of down time. There is a lot to cover this year. With that being said, I will be tougher on following directions right away and being a positive role model in the classroom. I have been giving reminders of my behavior expectations. On Tuesday students will need to be practicing those expectations. 

I hope that you enjoy this longer weekend with family and friends. It looks like we’ll have plenty of sunshine.


Mrs. Bucko

ust 26, 2023
back to school

We did it! Even with all the excessive heat, third grade had a great first week!

We packed a lot into the short week. We were faced with our first STEM challenge on Wednesday. We had to plan and work with a partner to “Save Fred”. His boat had capsized while rafting on the Colorado River. His life jacket was underneath the boat. Teams had to get the life jacket on Fred and get the boat turned over so Fred would be safe. The big difficulty was that you couldn’t use your hands to help. You could only use 4 paper clips! Did I mention that Fred is a worm? Anyway, all 12 teams were eventually able to Save poor Fred. Fred is very adventurous. I’m sure that you’ll be hearing more about him during the school year. Take a look at our photo gallery for pictures during the STEM challenge.

We practiced procedures, discussed classroom rules, labeled and organized our supplies, and got to know one another a little better. 

Math centers are a big part of my program. We practiced the money center. Next week the family fact center will be introduced. We also competed in a math quest - School Jungle Jam. There were 7 different tasks that had to be completed. You had to get all the problems correct in each task in order to get the next part of the quest. The math skills involved included addition, subtraction, ordering numbers, and finding the missing addend.

Table groups were inspired to create words using 10 letters. In the past three days EVERY table group ended up with over 50 words - 3-10 letters in each. Word work will be part of our weekly Daily 5 practice.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School has brought some humor into the classroom. We completed the first 5 chapters. We will continue reading the chapter book next week.

On Thursday we had gym and library. We celebrated Mass as a school on Friday. We didn’t have music yet, but we learned two new songs with actions. We completed self portraits that are hanging on our back wall. 

Ms. Soch came at the end of the day to give us our chromebooks and power chords. Every student brought their chromebook home today to be charged. On Monday Ms. Soch will have her first computer class. She’ll go over their new gmail account and get them logged into google classroom. I have been busy getting all their usernames and passwords printed. They will all be on a ring that will be kept in their backpack. 

This coming week we will try to follow the schedule that I’ve set up. I want students to feel comfortable with room 211 routines. Keep an ear out for this week’s STEM challenges and our study of our fantastic, elastic brain.

I look forward to seeing all of you on Wednesday at parent night. I know some of you have multiple children. I have a condensed version of my talk that you can pick up that night if you need to make it to other classrooms first. Please make it a priority to be there. We are a team. A team needs all of its members to be successful. 

Enjoy the nice weekend weather - without the extreme heat. 


Mrs. Bucko



Hello third grade family!
My name is Patricia Bucko. I am excited to start my fourth year at St. Catherine of Alexandria in third grade. I am originally from Stillwater, Minnesota. I moved to Illinois to marry my husband, Jon, of 31 years. We have 3 incredible children. All 5 of us are at home at the moment. My boys are in college and working, and my daughter is a senior at Mother McAuley High School. Thirty-one of my thirty-three years in teaching have been in third grade.
I love my job! Teaching is my passion. I try to create a classroom space where students love to learn and strive to grow to their true potential. My classroom has always been faith based. I hope to create this same learning environment this year. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Mrs. Bucko