Classroom News

November 26, 2022

bean bag chair chill

Tomorrow we start the season of Advent. Our classroom will transform to help us prepare our hearts for Jesus. In my classroom we celebrate the Jesse Tree. Each day we read a bible story about someone on Jesus’ family tree and hang an ornament symbolizing that story. Homework this month will be to share a part of the story with a family member. We will also keep a kindness calendar and have a weekly prayer partner. (More details to follow)  I will be sending home a few items that give suggestions for families to do at home during this holy season. 

As I shared at conferences we will be starting our math chapter on multiplication. We will spend two days just understanding the different strategies for multiplication. There will be quite a bit of new math vocabulary with the addition of this multiplication chapter. I will be giving a subtraction test on Tuesday so that we can formally move ahead. 

We will have our unit 6 vocabulary test on Thursday. Spelling words on Friday will be the ten words from this unit. Our reading lessons will be from our Storyworks magazine. I hope to show students how to complete slidedeck questions on google classroom. I’d like to start creating a few simple assignments on google classroom so that students start to practice how to answer and submit work on google classroom. This is a platform that will be used daily in fourth grade. 

Grammar this week will be a review of the 7 concepts we have covered so far this year; nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, regular plural nouns, and irregular plural nouns.

Life in Pilgrim Times paragraphs will be printed and illustrations added so that students can present information. They will take turns bringing the reports home to share with family. Once that is completed we will move on to our new science unit on magnetism. 

Come Lord Jesus, Come Quickly!

Mrs. Bucko

November 23, 2022
thankful for you

It was so nice to see everyone last night! Thank you for your attendance. Your children are very lucky to be part of a class that has parents who are deeply committed to their children doing well. Throughout the day I also noticed how many parents asked if their child was kind, good mannered, and respectful. I appreciate the partnership that we are developing to help a child increase their knowledge, but also become a good person inside and out.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving day! Please know that I am thankful for you and count you among my blessings!

Mrs. Bucko

November 19, 2022


We had one of the best weeks of the year. I was wowed daily by all the self motivation. What a great way to end the trimester!

We will continue with subtraction practice of larger numbers when we return from break. I want students to be sure of themselves and the steps. When I offer assistance students do better, but I want everyone to be confident without my help. Practice in subtraction will be part of morning work. 

We will be starting our next chapter on multiplication in the afternoons. The first lessons will be about understanding multiplication and math vocabulary. Our book is set up with multiplication 1 - 5’s, and then division 1 - 5’s. This allows students to better understand the relationship between the two. There is a program that I use for testing facts that we will start after we return from break.

Xtra math will be stopped after Tuesday. We will restart it again later in winter. Knowing facts for speed and accuracy helps with math that they will have in years following third grade. CONGRATS to all the students that have pushed themselves to not only complete addition and subtractions levels - but have success in multiplication and division.

We completed reading The World According to Humphrey. Students will be taking turns taking our own Humphrey home on the weekends. Humphrey comes with his notebook that students write out the adventures that Humphrey had while at their house. I’d appreciate it if you could take a picture sometime during that particular weekend and send it to my email. We create a book about Humphrey’s adventures later in the year. 

The week after break we will be reading from our Storyworks3 magazine. Our spelling words will be our unit 6 vocabulary words. 

The past two weeks we have been working on regular and irregular plural nouns in grammar. Knowing these rules will help with spelling. We just completed the assessment on regular plural nouns. We will take the quiz on irregular plural nouns before we leave for break.

Life in Pilgrim Times has been our main focus in social studies and reading. Monday we will be working on our paragraph writing. Students needing more time will complete their paragraphs for homework on Monday night. This project will continue the last few days of November. 

Our class will be visiting a few other classrooms to share the Thanksgiving story on Monday. Each student has 2 speaking parts. Thank you for letting them practice reading their lines at home.

I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday. I am so glad that we are able to speak face to face. If you have questions or concerns that you’d like to address on Tuesday, I would suggest that you write them down. Our ten minutes goes so fast! I have things to talk about that will take up most of the conference time. 

We have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for all of you!

Mrs. Bucko

November 13, 2022

have a good week

We made it through our first trimester. Report cards will be going home on Thursday. This week we will be spending some time reflecting on what we’ve learned, what’s gone well, and what we could improve on. I will be sharing that information at conferences. I will also do my own self reflection,  and I may make a few changes to make our classroom more productive. 

We will continue to work on our subtraction skills with larger numbers until we go on break. When we return we will be immersed in multiplication. Thank you for encouraging all the nightly practice on Xtra math. I was so proud looking at our weekly report on Xtra math. 

We will take a spelling break this week. We will complete regular plural nouns in grammar. I hope we’ll also complete irregular plural nouns. We will start Unit 6 in the vocabulary book. 

A big part of our language arts and social studies blocks will be reading and researching for our Life in Pilgrim Times research project. Students have already taken multiple pages of notes. This week we will start to organize what we’ve learned into good paragraphs. 

We will be learning about different inventions and inventors in science.

In religion we will be learning about a specific saint. We will be creating banners sharing their amazing lives.

Don’t forget to sign up for a conference time this week. Also remember that on Friday there will be no extended day services because of the vendor fair. 


Mrs. Bucko

November 5, 2022

day of the dead

What a beautiful prayerful week we had in third grade. Our dia de los muertos altar has been expanding all week. Thank you so much for sharing your family with our classroom. It has been nice to watch students gather and tell stories about the family members that are included on our altar. Our altar will remain up for the next two weeks. I’ll be sure to take some pictures so that you can see what a calming place this space in our classroom provides. 

To go along with our focus on all saints and all souls, each student will choose a saint that they will be learning more about. I have included 8 saints whose lives reflect the beatitudes that are posted on our main bulletin board. Students will be coming home to share about those saints, too.

On Monday students will be separated into groups to form research teams for our “Life in Pilgrim Times” report. The directives for the report will come home on Monday for a parent signature. I will be encouraging a trip to the public library this week to help with research. 

I will be testing on vocabulary unit 5 and our math subtraction chapter this week. Spelling will be words with long a. 

We will still be practicing subtraction with multiple regrouping while we are starting to memorize our multiplication facts. Students that have passed their addition and subtraction levels of Xtra math have already been practicing their multiplication facts. I am excited about the potential our classroom shows!

We will complete our reading of Humphrey while we read biographies of early inventors. 

I look forward to meeting you all face to face at conferences. We finally won’t have to be behind a mask or computer! I hope to share data from our iReady program so that you can better understand the goals that are set for this school year. 

As we wrap up the trimester we will spend some time reflecting on strengths and weaknesses so far this school year. I will include that as part of what we share at conferences.

Here’s to a good week!

Mrs. Bucko

October 30, 2022


Happy Halloween! I hope everyone had fun at Trunk or Treat. 

I know that everyone is so excited for Monday. I would really appreciate the reminder that we are still in school - and not at an all day party.

Tuesday we celebrate All Saints Day. We will gather for Mass at 10:00 A.M. Wednesday we celebrate All Souls Day. We will not gather for Mass, but we will be creating an altar area in our classroom to honor those we loved that have gone before us. Students are welcome to bring in photos of family and friends that have passed to add to the altar. Please make sure it is in a frame or in a zip bag so it is protected. 

We will continue with daily Xtra for those who still have not passed addition and subtraction levels. Those students who are in multiplication can take a break for now. I am so proud of the progress that students have made these past 2 weeks. 

The World According to Humphrey has been taking longer than expected to read. We should complete it by Friday. We will be going back to our Wonders reader on Tuesday. Spelling words will be words with final e. Grammar skill will be plural nouns. We are in Unit 5 for vocabulary. 

Students really enjoyed the reading and experiments associated with bats and spiders this past week. All of our projects will be coming home in the folder.
Mrs. Bucko

October 22, 2022


Hello! This coming week marks RED RIBBON WEEK. Student Council has many activities planned. Please refer to the Charger Check In for a list of all the events and out of uniform. 

In math our main focus will be subtraction. We will review problems without regrouping, with regrouping, and larger numbers with subtraction. This is our last big push to pass the addition and subtraction levels of Xtra math. About ⅓ of our classroom has already met this goal. 

We will continue reading The World According to Humphrey. We will also be reading about bats and spiders. Our science activities will involve both. 

With students out this past week I moved the Unit 4 vocabulary test to this week.  Our spelling words will be days of the week.

We continue working on prayers with a special focus on Our Father. 


Mrs. Bucko

October 15, 2022


We ended our week on such a positive note. Because the class had done such an amazing job on wrapping up our math chapter, we had an afternoon of math center rotations. Mrs. Tesmond, our math resource teacher, joined in the fun. She took a group to solve word problems by reading bar graphs. In the classroom we worked on money and family fact tiles. We got to give standing ovations to 6 more students who completed all 20 money tiles. Then our class broke into partners and learned how to play addition war. Winners of each round stayed at their seats and the loser moved on to a new partner. It was fun to watch such spirited competition. 

While we are working on addition and subtraction review chapters, the class is also starting on multiplication facts. We completed a multiplication chart of all the facts that we have already learned in previous grades - it just hasn’t been presented as multiples of a number. Example: counting by even numbers in first grade was really reciting multiples of 2. The class was wowed by how much they already knew. We also learned tricks to help solve certain multiplication problems. It’s exciting to learn new things!

This week we will be packing a lot into our language arts block. We will start a class chapter book, The World According to Humphrey. We will spend the next two weeks covering skills with this novel. We will be reading together and then breaking up into literature circles to discuss and answer questions. Students will be working nightly on comprehension questions. I will post read alouds on google classroom for students to follow along with at night. We will also be working on a two week writing unit. This unit will have several mini lessons. Identifying and labeling parts of a paragraph, indenting and using proper margins, writing a good topic sentence, and  identifying the best supporting details will be the beginning skills we cover this week. In vocabulary we will wrap up Unit 4 with an assessment on Thursday. Our spelling words this week will be the 10 words from the vocabulary unit. In grammar we will focus on pronouns. 

In social studies we will be creating brochures on the different types of communities. There are a few science videos that we will be watching to prepare us for the following week's lessons.

On Tuesdays we meet in the hallway to say a decade of the rosary together. This past week and next we will continue to make sure that we are not only saying the correct words to prayers, but we will also discuss the meaning of what we are saying. 

Wow! After reading this over third graders will really be stretching their brains! Homework this week will mainly be answering comprehension questions from our novel and Xtra math practice.

Thank you for your support in making this a year of amazing growth!

Mrs. Bucko 

October 8, 2022

a pile of autumn leaves

Wow! It seems like it turned fall overnight! We were so lucky to have such beautiful weather for our walk-a-thon. We were able to walk almost 2 miles - and then danced until the end of the day. The DJ played great music. The ice cream was a perfect treat to end an awesome day! 

Every student came home with a progress report signature page in their homework folder. Please log into powerschool and check your child’s grades, sign the sheet in the homework folder, and your child will give it to me on Monday. If you have trouble logging in to your account you will need to contact the office on Tuesday. Remember - this is the halfway point of the trimester. There is plenty of time to raise scores before report cards.

Students really enjoyed our nonfiction story this week, “Dogs to the Rescue”. The nonfiction portion of the Storyworks3 magazine has been a favorite the last few years. This week we will be reading a paired text, “Your Ears/ A Rabbit’s Ears”, to compare and contrast with last week’s story. We will also read the fiction story “Carla’s Sandwich”. We worked hard to support our answers with text evidence. This will be a skill we practice throughout the year.

There will be no spelling list this week. We will be starting unit 4 in vocabulary. Our grammar skill will be adverbs.

In social studies we will continue reading about different communities. We will start designing a brochure on rural, urban, and suburban areas. 

The month of the rosary was kicked off by our class leading our floor in the rosary. They did a super job! We will complete activities to make sure that we are reciting the correct words when we say these special prayers. Rosary activities will continue through the month.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Mrs. Bucko

“Everyone is called to become more like a saint - more like St. Therese - and do everyday things with as much love as possible; recognize your weaknesses and give them to God, and recognize your strengths and thank God for them.”

October 1, 2022

Johnny Appleseed

Apples, apples, apples… Our room was filled with them all week! We made a plot graph of the apples that we brought in. We had 7 different kinds of apples that we added to our pot yesterday. We did a taste test while we were cooking. Those results will be graphed on Monday. Right now it looks like honey crisp is the majority favorite. We read the book Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg. We mapped his journey across part of the United States. We worked in teams to create a timeline of events in his life. We even did a directed draw. The back wall of our classroom has a gallery of Johnny Appleseed images. I think the favorite part of the week was creating apple trappers in science. We used our engineering skills to create a device that would pick up an apple from a distance and carry it to a partner. (Pictures are in the photo gallery.) We ended our week making homemade applesauce. It needed to cook at least another hour because we were still coring and peeling at 11:00, but we did get to sample our applesauce. Students read other Johnny Appleseed books on epic. Some were able to read about other tall tale characters. Did you know that there are over 4,000 different kinds of apples? The largest in the world is the HAKUTO!

Apples weren’t the only focus this past week. Students were math maniacs! Ms. Tesmond, our math resource teacher, took small groups to make sure that everyone was confident in their rounding skills. Meanwhile we have been working on larger number addition in the classroom. 18 students have completed the addition level of Xtra math. 3 students have completed the subtraction level. It is so important that students know these first and second grade math facts with speed and accuracy. 

Today marks the start of October and the month of the rosary. Our classroom will be the first to lead our hallway in a decade of the rosary on Tuesday. We will be focusing on the luminous mysteries since we celebrate St. Pope John Paul II feast day later this month. Students can bring in a rosary from home to keep at school for prayer this month. I do have extras in the classroom. There are so many wonderful saints we celebrate this month: St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Faustina Kowalska, Blessed Carlo Acutis, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Luke the Evangelist, St. Ursula, and St. Pope John Paul II.  We also celebrate Our Lady of Fatima miracle. 

We will be using our Storyworks 3 magazine for our reading for the next two weeks. It has amazing nonfiction stories that have beautiful videos that go along with them. Students will be introduced to a slide deck on google classroom. They will learn to complete slides and submit them for a grade. 

Thursday marks the halfway point of the trimester. It is also our walk-a-thon. I will send out a parent email with reminders for both on Wednesday. 

Make sure that you are making time for reading every night. If students are not reading for homework they should be reading 10 - 15 minutes every night. Third graders should be able to complete a simple chapter book a week. That would mean that your child has read at least 3 - 6 chapter books since school has started. We will be tracking our independent reading now that we are halfway through the trimester. 

Congratulations to Jake who was chosen as our first charger of the month!
Have a blessed week!

Mrs. Bucko

September 24, 2022


I’m happy to report that my mom was able to be moved from the hospital to rehab. It’s been such an exhausting week for my family. Thank you for all your prayers and positive thoughts. Mrs. Harris didn’t allow our class to skip a beat. We were very fortunate to have her in the classroom.

The Friday folder did not come home yesterday.  I will send the folder home at the beginning of the week and again on Friday. 

Monday is Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. Our genre study this week will be on tall tales. There are many fun activities planned that will incorporate language arts, social studies, and science. We will end the week by making our own applesauce. I’d like each student to bring in a favorite apple by Thursday to add to the pot. 

We are starting vocabulary unit 3. Our spelling list this week will be the ten words from the unit. I stapled those words to their assignment books on Friday. They are also found on the vocabulary words tab. There will not be a spelling packet this week. 

Xtra math will be practiced daily. I did not give the place value and number sense test at the end of the week - a few students still needed review with our resource teacher. We did move into our addition chapter and will continue adding larger numbers. 

In religion we will be focusing on our domestic Church and being a good neighbor. We will be talking about St. Martin of Tours as part of our discussion. 

I really enjoyed students sharing all their family traditions. Students were proud to share about their culture or new traditions their families had started. 

After Mass yesterday I had the students remain in church so that we could review proper church behavior. Fr. Ken came back into church and joined in our discussion. He shared some great stories with the children and invited them to start coming to church every week with their family. It is important that we teach the faith, but it is more important that we join in the celebration at Mass every weekend. I encourage you to start this weekend if you haven’t already done so. 

We really enjoyed the all school assembly yesterday afternoon. It’s especially nice to be able to come together as a whole SCA school community!

Enjoy the last week of September!

Mrs. Bucko

September 17, 2022

What a busy week! 

We completed our first iReady diagnostic. I will be conferencing with students the next two weeks so that they know where they have strengths and where they need to make improvements. I will share more information about iReady next week to help you better understand how it works.

We celebrated Roald Dahl Day and International Dot Day. We have a dot museum on our lockers and in our classroom. We talked about making our mark on the world.

The first chapter in math covers so many areas. We are moving into chapter 2 this week, but will spend time each morning reviewing place value and number sense with larger numbers before we take our test on Thursday. Chapter 2 focus is addition. We will move through this chapter quickly since we have been doing a short review of skills during morning work these past few weeks. We had a few more students pass levels in Xtra math. We will continue to practice each day.

We completed our vocabulary chapter on Thursday. We did a big review in class yesterday. We will review again on Monday and take the test on Wednesday. Spelling words this week will come from the Wonders series. The words are short vowel e, o, and u words. There will be a spelling packet to work on each night for homework. Our writing focus will be writing a friendly letter. Grammar focus will be on adjectives.

Our main reading story this week is “Yoon and the Jade Bracelet”. The stories included this week are all realistic fiction. Our skills will cover character, setting, plot, and sequence.

Mystery science will help us learn about and use the scientific method skills of observing and asking questions. Further discussion on the different steps in the scientific method will continue later in the week.

We have a homecoming assembly on Friday. It will be a fun way to end our busy week.

I ask you to keep my mom in your prayers. She was admitted to the hospital last night. I’m heading to be with her as soon as I complete this post.


Mrs. Bucko

September 10, 2022
hittin the books

What a busy week! I was so happy with how well our class did on all the assessments. The vocabulary tests are challenging. Our class definitely rose to that challenge. 

We are wrapping up our math chapter on place value and number sense. There will be a test on Friday. We have been practicing our addition skills so that we are ready for chapter 2. Our math centers have been focusing on money, fact families, and reading graphs to solve problems. We had 6 students pass the addition level of Xtra math and 2 students have passed subtraction. We will practice Xtra math daily in the classroom and at home. The addition and subtraction are second grade levels. I’d like all students to pass both by the end of the 1st quarter.

We started unit 2 in vocabulary. Our spelling words will be the ten words from the vocabulary unit. The grammar focus this week will be on adjectives. 

There are many special days this week that we will be celebrating: Roald Dahl Dahl, International Dot Day, Exaltation of the Cross, and The Seven Sorrows of Mary. (more to share later)

This past year our Catholic faith had a special focus on St. Joseph. In June the Catholic Bishops announced the new focus will be on Eucharistic Adoration. Third graders will learn more about the beautiful practice.

On Tuesday we will have the assessment on our reading story Wolf. This story showed what can happen if you have a growth mindset. The new word we learned - Perseverance. Later this week we will be digging deeper into having a growth mindset. 

I had all intention of practicing with zoom this past week. The problem was with my laptop. Miss Soch reached out to our IT, and he spent Thursday afternoon fixing the problem. Everything should be good to go this week. 

Have a blessed week!

Mrs. Bucko

September 3, 2022
happy september

Now that we’ve completed two full weeks of school I really hope that we can flow through a normal day with ease. We are still working on transitioning from task to task. I developed a program over the summer that I am waiting to implement. I need everyone able to move and work independently before I can begin. 

We have been able to log into many of the programs we use in third grade. Students have been asked to save usernames and passwords as we’ve been adding programs so that they can get into those programs easily. They will still need their code ring if they would have to log into a different device. I have posted the direct link to programs we use often on our google classroom. 

This coming week I will be asking students to go to google classroom and get on a zoom conference with me. We will be practicing this in class first. It is important that students know how to do this by themselves in case they - or our class - would ever need to stay at home for a lengthy period of time. I do NOT want parents to help. I need to know that the student can do this on their own. I will set up several different times for them to join me so that everyone will get to practice outside of school. We don’t stay long on the conference. I am just checking that they know what steps to follow to join a zoom. Once they are able to do it independently twice - they will not have to do a practice again. I use the same zoom link for all my zoom meetings with this class. My last two classes did amazing with this. We only needed 1 week to accomplish this task. 

If a student would be home sick for more than 1 day I ask them to check google classroom after 9:00 AM to see if there is a message from me with work they can get started on at home. 

This coming week we will be wrapping up many of our first units. I don’t normally give homework on the weekend, but I did ask students to go on vocabulary workshop to practice unit 1 words one more time before we take the quiz on Tuesday. We practiced the past three days. There is an actual practice quiz on vocabulary workshop. We will be taking a math quiz on Wednesday or Thursday to show mastery of place and value of a number, comparing numbers, ordering numbers, forms of numbers (standard, expanded, and word form). We will continue with practice of larger numbers the remainder of the week.

We will be starting the Wonders reading program this week. Spelling words will be from this program. 

Students will have homework in reading, spelling, and math every night next week. It will help form homework routines. 

Labor Day falls on one of my favorite saint feast days. September 5 is the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa). We will be discussing this amazing saint on Tuesday. We also celebrate the Nativity of Mary on September 8. 

Our first Friday folder came home. Please review work, remove it from the folder, sign and date, and then have your child put the folder back in their book bag. 

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend!

Mrs. Bucko

August 26, 2022
check box

I want to start off by thanking everyone for attending the Back to School Parent Night. We had great attendance. It really shows me that you are invested in your child and are ready to partner to make this an amazing year.

Getting supplies organized and working through routines has taken more time out of our schedule than I planned. I hope that next week we won’t have to spend so much time going over routines and following directions. Transitioning to greater independence does take time.

In math we were able to cover lessons in place, value, and comparing numbers. This next week we will read and write numbers in standard, expanded and written form, compare and order larger numbers, and round numbers.  Our new math resource teacher, Ms. Tesmond, was able to join us in learning about 2 more math centers. She will be working in our classroom and pulling students out for small group instruction. We started the Xtra math program online and already have 2 students who passed the addition level today! It will be part of regular homework next week.

Students are really enjoying Sideways Stories from Wayside School. We will continue this chapter book through the week so that we can start the Wonders program after Labor Day.

Like Ms. Owens said on Wednesday, we will start the iReady diagnostic in both reading and math on Monday. It usually takes third graders 4 – 5 days to complete. I only have them work 30 minutes or so each day until they complete it.

I look forward to our stem activities this week. For one of them - students will be coming home to demonstrate what we did in class.

Expectation stations came back! Eighth graders presented and led discussion about expected behavior at lunch, recess, hallway, and church.

We will have math words for our spelling list this week. They will be posted on the side tab on Monday.

In religion we will focus on sacraments of Christian Initiation.

I will be sending home scholastic book orders. If you choose to order online our class code is GTRHH. I’d like to send the order out on September 2.

Here’s to a great week!

Mrs. Bucko

August 20, 2022
school buddies

Welcome! I’m so happy that we will be working together to make this year amazing for your child! I’m excited that I will get to meet you face to face on Wednesday at parent open house.

We had a good start. Thank you for making sure that all supplies were at school the first day. We were able to attend Mass on Friday as a whole school. That has never been able to happen since I’ve been at SCA. There were a lot of us, but it was nice to see what a big faith family we have at St. Catherine. We were also able to experience our first STEM lesson. Students were asked to SAVE FRED! It was challenging, but most students were able to figure out how to work together to make the rescue a success.

Every week I will be posting a letter informing you of what went on the past week and highlight what is ahead.

Students will receive their new emails and chromebooks on Monday. It will be very exciting. Students will take them home and charge them for the following day. Chargers stay at home. It is important that you create a place where they will charge their chromebook when they come home from school. It is also important that it gets back in the book bag in the morning. We use our chromebooks every day in class.

We will follow a normal routine starting Monday. A schedule for our special classes is on a side tab.

Thank you for sharing your child with me!

Mrs. Bucko

August 18, 2022
back to school

August 1, 2022


Hello third grade family!
My name is Patricia Bucko. I am excited to start my third 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 30 years. We have 3 incredible children. All 5 of us are at home at the moment. My boys are in college, and my daughter is a junior at Mother McAuley. Thirty of my thirty-two 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