3-Ellis - beginning of the year Newsletter to parents from Mr. Ellis

Westmount School 3 ELLIS

2017-2018 Beginning of the year Newsletter


September 2017

Dear 3E Parents,

      Welcome to a new and exciting year at Westmount School! I hope that you and your family had a wonderful summer and that you are ready for a fantastic year at Westmount filled with learning and laughter. We are going to have a fantastic Grade Three year together! The start of the school year is exciting, but, it can also be confusing and hectic, so I hope this letter helps you understand some of the routines and procedures of 3E and our school.

Classroom Blog

          At Westmount school teachers communicate to parents in a “uniform” way through the blog. Each classroom will have their own BLOG, which you can get to from the school home page. Click on classroom blogs. The password for the blog is wolfpack. The blog will serve as a communication tool between home and school and most importantly it will keep you up to date with the academic content we are covering in school. Reviewing this content by chatting about it around the dinner table will help to reinforce the concepts and keep you in the loop regarding all of our exciting learning. The blog will include messages and reminders that relate to events in our classroom and school, as well as any homework assignments that might rarely be given. Notices going home will be either placed on the blog, or emailed home to you, or both. In 3-Ellis this year, we will do our best to blog on Tuesday and Friday to keep you up-dated.

Morning and After School Routines

School begins at 8:35. When Grade 3 students arrive at school they will line up with their class outside their designated door at the 8:35 bell (first bell). Students will be let in by a teacher at the second bell at 8:40. The size of our entrance is fairly tight so we ask that parents say their “good-bye” before the class gets taken in. We ask that students use their assigned doors at all times (unless they are late). Please note that there is no supervision before 8:25 a.m. 

To ensure the safety of all staff and students, school doors will be locked until the end of the day (except the main doors). If you should arrive late, your child will need to go through the main doors and report to the office first. We do understand that there will be times that you may be late. However, it is important students arrive at school usually on time so they have time to organize themselves and get settled in to learn. Please help your child to organize themselves and get to school on time.  If you need to drop anything off for your child during the day, please drop it off at the office.  To avoid disruptions in learning, we ask that you do not go down instructional wings during instructional times of the day.

Students will be dismissed at 3:15 from their homeroom class by their teacher, unless we have departed early for some DPA (Daily Physical Activity), in which case we will be at the playground. Students will be dismissed out of their classroom door and are free to choose any exterior door for departure that works for them.  Again, we ask that parents do not come through the student’s doors to avoid congestion. It’s a good idea to establish a consistent meeting place with your child.


          We have a mix of many different families, almost all of whom are very busy. It is my belief that generally, while at school, students work hard and have long days. As home life is often quite busy, I generally do NOT send much homework home. However, I do ask that parents strive to develop a consistent habit of reading the blog on Tuesday and Friday to stay informed of our subject content, and chatting with your child around the content material. I will often attach our subject booklets to the blog so you can see exactly what we are working on, and these booklets will go home when finished (or sometimes not finished) for your reviewing pleasure. As “learning to read” and “reading to learn” are the two most essential school skills for your child, please develop a home-reading routine with your kids by insisting on 20 to 30 minutes of “reading for pleasure” each evening, at a time that works for all of you. Please try to hook your child on a novel and allow him or her to bring that novel to school each day for reading during our quiet reading time. We have quiet reading time almost every day. If your child is engaged in a novel, they will love quiet reading time, and so they will read more; and by reading our reading skills just keep on improving. A “good fit” book is extremely important. Thanks for your help in helping your child pick good-fit books and encouraging them to read at home.

  You can also help with spelling homework at home in preparation for weekly (usually weekly, but not always) spelling “check-ups”, usually on Fridays or Mondays.  We will spend class time working on these words but extra practice at home will help. In 3-Ellis we have four different levels of spelling, depending on your child’s spelling ability and we introduce a new set of words each week (usually, but not always). We colour code these different levels into red, yellow, green and blue. You will know what level your child is on and we will develop a system of blogging these words so you can access them. If you would rather have a paper copy of the words, let me know and I will make one for you. Another focus of homework you can work on will be the practice of basic math facts. Addition and subtraction will remain a main focus for the first months of school, and could be practiced at home with a dice or a deck of cards in order to improve accuracy, speed and confidence. The students will be moving on to multiplication and division in January and will be asked to practice their facts at home. Please feel free to phone or e-mail through-out the year with any questions you may have regarding any of this.

School Supplies

   This year student supply lists were sent home and parents were responsible to buy student supplies for the year. The Staples Supply Program is an

option as is purchasing your own supplies from various retailers.


Book Orders

          Elo, our school librarian, organizes Scholastic Book orders. These 

generally, go home every other month.   Whether you wish to purchase books through Scholastic is purely optional on your part. If you do wish to purchase something, please send a CHEQUE payable to Scholastic Canada Ltd. along with your child’s order.


          Every day, around recess time, the students will have time to eat a nutritional snack before going outside to play.  Please note: We do not have a microwave in the classroom and there generally is not a microwave available for student use. Nutritional lunches that do not have to be heated are much easier to eat within our short eating period. Doing so also prevents scalding injuries in our tight classroom space. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this. As is the case with most schools, there are several students and teachers at Westmount with severe peanut allergies, including right next door. Thus we are a “peanut-free” classroom and school. Tree nuts, on the other hand, are okay. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with this.

Library Books

          Each week the students will be encouraged to select reading level appropriate material from the library to take home (they are allowed to take out one fiction book and one non-fiction book at a time). Like all libraries, the books are lent out and must be returned in order to take out new books. Please help your child to remember to return their library books as often as possible in order to enable them to read a wide variety of books this year.

Computers in the Classroom

          We have three computers in our classroom. These computers are used on a daily basis in many subject areas. Each child will have the opportunity to work on the computers in the classroom as well as having designated times for using the portable MAC computers.


          In 3E we acknowledge each child’s birthday, as well as those students with birthdays in July and August. We will celebrate August birthdays in September and July birthdays in June. Some children enjoy bringing in cookies or cupcakes on their special day to share with the class at lunchtime. This is a welcome treat but certainly not expected – the decision is left entirely up to you and your child.


          The grade three classes will be going on several fieldtrips this year. We will send a notice home as soon as information is available with dates and any additional money required regarding our upcoming trips. As always, we will be looking for parent volunteers to help out on these events.

Little Sharing and Big Sharing

In 3-Ellis we have “Little Sharing” and “Big Sharing”.  Little Sharing occurs every-day. Little Sharing requires nothing but a story of an event we wish to share. “Big Sharing” generally happens once a week, on a Friday. Big Sharing is a big sharing of something significant to us. It can be a pet, a new baby brother or sister, a dance, gymnastic, or musical demonstration of an instrument that you play. It can be your favorite game or just that perfect rock that you found last weekend by the river. Your child will inform you of their Big Sharing. We usually get two chances in the school year for a Big Sharing.

     I am truly honored to have your child in my class and I will strive to do my best to meet his or her educational and emotional needs. I believe we need just as much heart in teaching (or perhaps even more) as head. I will strive to hit that balance. If there are issues, or emotional needs in your child’s life that you feel I need to know, please make a point of chatting with me so I can respond and teach to the whole child: not just the head! J 

    I am looking forward to the year, and hope that this notice answers any immediate questions you may have had. I hope to see you soon at the school and can always be contacted at the school, 403-995-4824 via voice mail message or via email (ellisb@fsd38.ab.ca) or via a note sent with your child. Please feel free to call, write or stop in with any questions or comments you may have. We are ALL looking forward to a great year!


Bob Ellis