Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!

We have all been very excitable this week. On Monday, we continued working on geometry in math. On Tuesday, all of the students were excited to make gingerbread cookies with a kindergarten buddy. Today, students explored mode by finding the mode of a pile of M&M's.

Thank you to all who brought treats recently! The students really enjoyed them. I hope everyone has a wonderful break!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 2011

We have been discussing environmental issues for the past two weeks. We read and discussed The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, created posters to encourage people to recycle, and explored natural resources. In addition, we talked about timelines. In particular, we discussed a timeline for Iowa. Students began a timeline about their life. Please help them fill in the years they do not have any information written, and have them bring it back on Monday.

During writing, we also discussed verbs that related to our new story (The Mysterious Giant of Barletta). In addition, we completed a story map for the stories we read this week. Please ask your child what their favorite story during reading time was and what it was about. See if they can tell you the setting, characters, and plot (problem, events, and solution).

During math, we have been working on geometry. Students have been exploring how shapes make up other shapes. We have continued to work on multiplication and division too.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Please remember that we have a shortened week next week. There is no late start on Wednesday. Instead, we will be having an early out. 


Thank you for all that you do!

Ms. Ritland

Sunday, December 4, 2011


This week has gone by so quickly. We have been busy working on multiplication and division. Students have also been working on place value. I will be sending home some of their work related to both of these topics tomorrow.

In reading, we have been discussing Dogzilla. Students enjoyed making filmstrips that sequenced the events of the story. They also enjoyed making a film strip for a sequel to Dogzilla. We have also been discussing realistic and fictional details. Please continue to discuss main ideas and details with your child if you read together at home.

During writing, students have been developing fictional stories of their own. At the beginning of the week, students brainstormed ideas and story events they would like to write about. We have been working on rough drafts and recently started editing. We will be publishing them in the coming week. Some students will be typing their stories and putting them on posters, while others would like to make their stories into a story book. Ask your child how he or she is planning on publishing his or her work.

Science has been focused on the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems. Students made flip books, which will be coming home on Monday. We will also be having a party on Monday to celebrate how hard students have been working on being respectful of property, themselves, and others throughout the school and on the playground!

Thank you for all that you do! I hope you have had a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Break!

Hope you are all having a wonderful break. Students have been asking me to post the websites we used to explore the digestive system, so they are listed below.
      The above website is an interactive website we used to explore the purpose of the digestive system.
      The above website contains a music video (at the very bottom of the website) about the digestive system.

In math, we have continued working on multiplication and division facts. We will continue to work on multiplication and division next week. We will also be starting to talk about place value next week.

In reading, we have been exploring trickster tales. Students read three stories and completed story maps that included the characters, setting, problem, plot, and solution last week. On Monday, we continued to talk about Trickster Tales and then we focused on Thanksgiving. We brainstormed facts we knew about Thanksgiving, read a passage about Thanksgiving, and then added new information to facts we already knew. Ask your students to share something new they learned about Pilgrims, Native Americans, or Thanksgiving.

Thank you for all that you do and I hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving!

Ms. Ritland

Sunday, November 13, 2011


This week has been a fabulous week! We have been learning about multiplication and division in math. In particular, we have learned an array is a way to represent a multiplication problem. While we worked on solving multiplication stories, we made arrays. We used counters to practice dividing items into groups and equal shares.

In reading, we continued discussing family traditions in regards to the stories we have read for the past few weeks. We have also continued to focus on identifying main ideas and details as we read. Please continue to encourage your child to use this strategy as he or she reads to you or to himself or herself.

During writing, students worked on a piece about an object that is special to them. They brainstormed questions the reader may want answered. Then, they began to write a story about their object that included answers to these questions. Students will continue to work on these at the beginning of the coming week.

Reminders for the coming week:

1.) I will be sending home book orders this week. Please return them by Monday, November 28th.

2.) If I missed you at conferences, I will be calling to set up a time that would be good for us to meet and discuss your child’s progress so far this year. 

Thank you for all that you do. Please contact me if you ever have any questions or concerns. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

We have had a wonderful week. We started off our week on Halloween! Thank you to all of the families who sent treats for the students in 3R1! I know everyone appreciated them.

In reading this week, we have been discussing Native American traditions and relating them to other stories from the past few weeks. We have been focusing on main idea and details, a reading strategy. As you read with your child at home or as your child reads independently, please encourage him or her to identify the main ideas and details.

In writing, we have been discussing how to make plural nouns. Students know when to add –s, -es, and –ies. We also know that some nouns have to change in order to become plural. For example, man changes to men in order to make it plural.

In math, we have been reviewing perimeter, measuring, interpreting data, estimation, and addition with re-grouping. We have also started working on subtraction-timed tests. The goal for every student is to complete 40 problems in two minutes by the end of the year.

For the past couple of weeks, students have been working on earning a party for being respectful. They are about halfway to their goal. Please keep encouraging your child to be respectful and responsible at school.

I would like to say thank-you to everyone who came for parent-teacher conferences. I enjoyed meeting with you to discuss your child’s progress and look forward to sending updates home about your child's growth in the near future!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Red Ribbon Week

Wednesday was the end of the quarter. We have been busy working on finishing up our discussion of ecosystems. We have also started a discussion about maps.

In reading, we have been discussing a book entitled The Talking Cloth. This book is about traditions, so we have been making connections between previous books that are also about traditions.

This past week has been busy with activities to learn more about Red Ribbon Week. We were fortunate to have an assembly where we could talk with a police officer about the importance of Red Ribbon Week. Students also enjoyed decorating posters about Red Ribbon Week while we enjoyed our popsicles that were a reward for reaching our reading goal.

We had a special event Friday morning, which was a school wide field trip to the Convention Center. Many students enjoyed listening to Mark Twain play the banjo. Students also enjoyed some of his magic tricks. They enjoyed listening to his stories and picturing the details in their minds.

Looking ahead to next week, we will be having parent teacher conferences. Please sign up online through the Fairfield Community School District website. Please contact me if you have any questions about how to do this if you have not yet signed up for conferences. I will be calling tomorrow to check in with you about parent teacher conferences and any other concerns.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


     We have been learning about ecosystems this week. Students discussed rainforests, the tundra, wetlands, salt-water ecosystems, and many others this week.

      Students have also been working on estimating and adding 3 digit numbers. In math, students were able to discuss measurements, too. They used tape measures to learn about the U.S. customary system and the metric system. We measured things in centimeters and inches this week, among other units. Ask your child which other units they remember using to measure items in the classroom.
During reading, we have been discussing a story entitled Grandma’s Records. Throughout this story, we have continued our discussion about traditions. We classified and sorted information as we read the story. Practice this strategy at home with your child! During language arts, we wrote a story about a bear, discussed proper nouns, and sorted words based on how we make them become plural.
Today, we wrote letters to a student who is moving away. We will miss her, but are excited for her to meet new friends from another town.  The treats that are being brought home are from an early birthday celebration we had for her.

         Next week is Red Ribbon Week. There will be a variety of activities to recognize the importance of this week. 

         As always, if you have any question or comments, please e-mail me at Thank you for all that you do!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 10-15

The week of October 10th has been very busy. We have been working on writing compare and contrast papers. We compared and contrasted plants and animals using graphic organizers. Then, students were able to compare and contrast a topic of their choice. We have also been discussing compound sentences during writing.

In reading, we have been discussing making connections to text, author's purpose, and asking questions. Students enjoyed reading a book by Patricia Polacco entitled Mrs. Katz and Tush. Ask your child about their favorite part of the story.

We have been learning about and practicing place value, estimating, and measurement. Students discussed why a standard unit is important and devloped a standard size class shoe to measure items in the classroom.This coming week we will begin measuring using standard units, such as inches and centimeters.

Our topic for the next week in science is ecosystems. We have been discussing what makes up an ecosystem. We will continue discussing what kinds of ecosystems are around our world in the upcoming week.

1. Scholastic book orders are due by October 24, 2011.

2. A math sheet was sent home on Friday, so your student could practice place value. This sheet will be due on Tuesday, so if there was little time to work on it this weekend, do not fret!

3. Tomorrow, I will be sending home a sheet students can use to practice basic math facts. I will also be sending home a couple sheets students may use to practice cursive. Students are not required to complete and return these. They are optional! However, I strongly encourage you to work with your child on these over the course of this week.

Once again, thank you for all that you do! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me at, or you may call the school if you would like to speak with me.

Ms. Ritland

Friday, October 7, 2011


The students are excited for the month of October! Students received Scholastic book orders at the beginning of the week. Order forms need to be returned by October 24th.

In class, we have been working on life cycles. We have also been discussing endangered and extinct animals during reading groups. Students were very excited to watch a video about endangered animals this afternoon. Ask your child to tell you one endangered animal they learned about during the video or reading groups, in addition to one fact about that animal.

In math, we have been working on adding and subtracting two and three digit numbers. Please practice this skill at home. Challenge your student!

If you have any questions, please contact me at Thank you for all that you do!

Ms. Ritland

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jefferson County Park Field Trip


Friday, September 30, 2011

Field Trip!

This week we have been very excited to participate in homecoming activities. Students enjoyed seeing all of the crazy hats, pajamas, and orange and black outfits! Students also decorated pictures to hang in the hallway on a poster. At the assembly this morning, we discovered that our classroom poster won third place out of all of the decorations in the hallway for homecoming. We also got to meet cheerleaders and football players. The cheerleaders even let us participate in some of their cheers!

Pick a Healthy Snack was also this morning. Your child should be bringing home a "Superstar Sheet" to keep track of how many dairy products they are eating each day. Ask your child about what kinds of snacks they should be eating and what kinds of snacks they got to try today.

This afternoon we went on our field trip! Students enjoyed everything we did! In particular, students really enjoyed making inventions to carry a pea pod away from the playground where they dropped it. Students also enjoyed learning how to whistle using an acorn cap.

Overall, this has been an exciting week! Students have been learning about picking healthy snacks, plants and animals, friendships, and using part-part-whole diagrams to solve story problems. Please ask your child to share some of his or her new learning with you.

Thank-you for all that you do!
Miss Ritland

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Thank you to everyone who turned in fundraisers and were ready for picture day! 

In math, we have been working on elapsed time, fact families, and extended number patterns. Today, we learned "What's My Rule?" and played Roll to 100.

In reading, we have been learning about sequence words. While we read, we identified the sequence words in our story. Then, we practiced putting the events in order. Students have practiced this with a story about doing the dishes and making rice.

During science, we have been discussing flowers. This includes the parts of flowers, roots, and how plants are grouped. Ask your child why they got to look at celery and radishes and what they learned from those experiences!

Please contact me if you would like to volunteer in the classroom during reading or math centers!

Looking forward to next week.....
               1. We have a field trip at Jefferson County Park on Friday, September 30th from 12:30-2:30.
               2. We will also be learning about Picking a Healthy Snack at the end of next week.

Thank you for all that you do! Have a splendid weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rain Forest Assembly

Ask your child what the Ring Tailed Lemur ate during the presentation.

Students observed this lizard's features, which included the feet, dewlap, and tail.

Some students had the opportunity to hold the boa constrictor.

                                     All of the students waited patiently for the Macaw to speak.

These are the cockroaches some students and teachers were able to hold. (If you are curious about how they felt, ask Mrs. Lewis or Mr. Strickler.)

Overall, the students enjoyed the assembly and learned some interesting facts about animals from the rainforest.

Busy Week

We have had a busy week! The students were very enthusiastic about the rain forest assembly. They enjoyed seeing many animals and listening to true facts about them. Our class particularly enjoyed learning about the Ring Tailed Lemur and the Macaw.

We also had the opportunity to go to an assembly about eating healthy. Two third grade students became superheros, who were awesome at staying healthy, during this assembly. Ask your child to tell you more about what they learned about junk food and being healthy.

We also wrote friendly letters to Mrs.Rhinehart's class this week. Students did a rough draft and a final draft. Then, they delivered their letters to a person in Mrs. Rhinehart's class. All of the students were excited to write to a new or old friend.

In math we have been working on counting money and making change. Students have really enjoyed being able to play Coin Top-It. Every child has their own set of cards for Coin Top-It, so encourage your child to play at home.

A couple quick reminders....

Please return the picture slips that were sent home this week. Picture day is quickly approaching; it will be September 22nd. 

The fundraisers are also due September 22nd. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Labor Day Week

I hope you all had a fantastic Labor Day! This week we had our first trip to the library. Your student may bring library books home. It is the responsibility of your child to bring them back to school and return them, though. Packets were also sent home this week for our annual fundraiser. Students were very excited at our assembly this afternoon as they saw the various prizes they could earn. Good luck helping your student reach his or her selling goal!

In math this week, we have been working on using calculators to solve problems, finding differences, and the language of chance. Students learned a new game this week titled the Number-Grid Difference Game. Ask your child about this game and possibly try it out at home!

Check for understanding is the comprehension strategy we have been focusing on throughout this week. Students have loved reading books independently and applying the strategy by asking who and what questions at the end of each page they read.

In writing, we have been writing personal narratives. Students have chosen a wide range of topics including 8 Days of Hope, Adventureland, the Iowa State Fair, and Summer. As we have been writing these, we have been discussing the four types of sentences, subjects and predicates, and word choice. I am very proud of the students' writing. They have been working diligently on their final draft and we hope to have them finished soon!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome to 3R1! Since I will be working with your son or daughter, I thought you would like to know some information about me. My name is Becky Ritland. I recently graduated from Wartburg College with a degree in elementary education and endorsements in early childhood and reading. I recently relocated to Fairfield, Iowa, but I am originally from Zearing, Iowa. It is very exciting to have the opportunity to work with you and your student.

Last week, the students enjoyed doing many activities that helped us get to know one another. One activity we enjoyed doing was using sticky notes to compare our favorite pizza toppings, ice cream flavor, subject, and recess activity. The results are listed below. The favorite is listed and then the number of students who “voted” for it.

Our Favorites
        Pizza Topping                                                       Ice Cream
                 Taco - 2                                                          I don't like it!- 1
              Cheese- 11                                                             Twist- 1
          I don't like it! - 1                                                    Snickers- 1
             Sausage- 1                                                            Vanilla- 5
           Pepperoni- 4                                                         Chocolate- 8
          Black olive- 1                                                    Cookie dough- 6
      Canadian bacon- 1

          Subject                                                           Recess Activity
       Mathematics- 9                                               Play with a person- 3
           Reading- 7                                                              Tag- 3
            Writing- 5                                                        Monkey bars- 6
            Science- 1                                                            Swings- 3
                                                                                                Kickball- 7

We have also been very busy this week. In math, we have discussed equivalent names, bar graphs and tally charts, using tools for mathematics, and number sequences. The students really enjoyed playing the Number-Line Squeeze game during math time. Ask your child about this game and some of the others we have been playing to practice our math facts.

Overall, it has been a very busy but exciting start to the school year. Thank you for welcoming me so kindly into this school district and community. I hope you all had a great summer and are as excited to start the new school year as I am! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at