March 19th to March 30th

Dear Parents,

This will be a busy two weeks before we all go on Easter break. Your children are working very hard and growing by leaps and bounds, both academically and physically. Please read the following schedule of up coming events for our third-grade classroom.

Also, I attended a wonderful teacher training workshop at The Pacific Science Center and The Gates Foundation. I brought the S.T.E.A.M. activity we learned in the workshop to the classroom and the results were amazing. The students created a Mars Lander using limited time, resources and money, they only had $30 to spend. The collaborative skills that they exhibited made me realize how much they have learned this year through S.T.E.A.M. activities. Here are a few photos of their designs.


Thank you for all of your support and positivity.

Mrs. Lisa Castillo

March 19th- Monday-Reconciliation for all third graders. If your child isn’t Catholic they can ask for a blessing from Father Crispin.

March 20th-Tuesday-A musical performance in Egan by a local opera company at 10:00.

March 22nd– Grandparent’s Day for grades Pre-K through 1st, this is a Dress Uniform day for the whole school.

March 23rd– Stations of the Cross, 2:00, this will be a special one with siblings teaming up to read the stations together. Please join us at 2:30 if you can. It’s always nice to have parents sitting with us in the church. It encourages the class to sit a little taller and get more involved.

Holy Week-March 26th through 30th

March 27th– Tuesday- This is our celebration day for a job well done. All students will celebrate their progress in memorizing their multiplication facts with an ice cream sundae. Time TBA.

March 28th-Wednesday- Class picture day in Dress Uniform.

March 30th– Good Friday- Stations of the Cross at 2:00. This is the beautiful shadow stations by our 7th-grade classes. Please join us for this moving reenactment of Jesus’ journey.

The students will leave school in silence as a sign of reverence. Mrs. O’leary and the faculty encourage you and your family to join in with the silent reverence, until you are off school grounds. It is an amazing thing to see, 550 plus students in silence.

April 2nd through 6th– Easter Break and I’ll see you back again on April 9th!

Academic News-

Book reports for the March Women’s History Month books are due on or before March 28th. The students are making boardgames that match the major events in the lives of a famous woman they are reading about: Jane Goodall, Coretta Scott King, Malala, Princess Diana, Sonia Sotomayor or Mo’na Davis.  Most supplies will be provided at school and the board games will be created at school too. You might see them come home for finishing touches.

The Iditarod is wrapping up now that most mushers have reached Nome, Alaska. This year’s winner is a young man from Norway, Joar Ulsom. Our own, Ella, followed him and is our class winner. Her prize is to have the class, Siberian Husky, on her desk and she gets the honor of naming the dog too. We don’t know the Red Lantern, or last place musher yet. This is an honorary position because this musher gets to officially close the race and blow out the symbolic Iditarod lantern, found at the finish line in Nome. For our classroom, the student who has been following the musher who is the red lantern winner, gets to put out our red flashlight. The Red Lantern this year is Connor! Great work by all the mushers.

Looking Ahead-

April 12th is our field trip to the Burke Museum, 9:30 to 12:00.

April 20th is our school auction.

May 1st is the crowning of Mary and Mass at 9:00.

May 25th is our last field trip to Bishop Blanchet’s, Guys and Dolls, the field trip forms will come home in April.

June 8th- Early dismissal for summer break, 10:30.


February 26th through March 9th

Dear Parents,

Thank you for sending your child in warm layers for this surprise winter blast we have been experiencing. We were all hoping for spring to emerge but we will have to wait a while longer. I do have a few spare sweatshirts and jackets in the classroom if your child forgets their warm layer. On a similar subject, it remains flu season and many of the students have had the flu. Please continue to keep ill children home so that they can rest and come back to school fully recovered. Thank you!

The Stations of the Cross are said 2:30 each Friday during Lent. Please join the class during this important prayer service. The Catholic relief Services rice bowl in the classroom is collecting spare change as we remember to give alms during Lent. Rice bowls were sent home before Ash Wednesday to encourage families to give what they can for the world’s poor. Please bring your rice bowl back to school or church during Holy Week, March 26th through 30th. Thank you.

On March 7th we have an all-school Mass and this is a dress uniform day. Please come at 8:45 and sit with your child. You are always welcome to join us as we celebrate Mass together.

The Spring Musical will be on March 8th at 1:30 in Egan Hall. If you can’t make the evening performance, please join the school for the matinee. It’s sure to be entertaining.

The students are earning the parts of an ice cream sundae as they memorize and test on the multiplication facts 2-12. My hope is that all students will have completed their tests by the time we go on Easter break. The ice cream sundae party to celebrate this accomplishment is tentatively scheduled for March 27th. Please continue to practice math facts at home each night for 10 to 15 minutes.

The movie poster book report is due on February 28th. Many students have presented their posters to the class and they are informative and well made.  The students’ comfort with speaking in front of the class has improved over the last 6 months. Thank you for supporting and encouraging your child with this homework assignment.

Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss who would be celebrating his 114th birthday on March 2nd. The students practiced their leadership skills by reading to their buddies in Pre-k. Enjoy these sweet photos.

The Iditarod Sled Dog Race will begin on, March 3rd, from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska. Each student will follow a musher and dog team from start to finish. It is an exciting race with lessons that integrate Math, Reading, Writing,Science, Technology, Art and Social Studies. Please visit for race results and updates.

If the cold weather seems never-ending, keep in mind that Easter break is only 30 days away.

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to call or email.

God Bless,

Lisa Castillo

February 12th through February 23rd

Dear Parents,

The students are focused on writing Sensational Sentences that contain the 5 W’s and typing these in a Word document. This sentence writing skill is being applied to an Olympic challenge for weekend viewing and writing. The Olympic challenge is a fantastic way to apply skills to a writing assignment. This assignment is not required but is available for students who want to stretch their learning.

Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday the 14th but will be held on Tuesday because of Ash Wednesday. Please send in a valentine for each child. If candy comes with the valentine, as many do, that is fine, one for each student, please.  We will have a fun party at the end of the day. Thank you to families who contributed food and supplies for the party.

An assembly called, The Power of One, will be presented on Tuesday, February 14th at 1:00.  The skits and discussions will conclude with students making an oath to: not bully others, not stand by while others are bullied and report bullying whenever and wherever they see it. You are welcome to see this important presentation at 1:00 on Tuesday.

Ash Wednesday Mass is on Wednesday at 9:00. Please join us if you can and sit with the class. The students are so proud when their parents sit with us. They are also very well behaved too! This is a dress uniform day.

The class field trip to The Seattle Children’s Theater is on Thursday, February 15th at 9:30 to 1:00. We will eat lunch at The Armory in The Seattle Center. Please pack a brown bag lunch that can be thrown away when finished.  The students will see the play of the classic book, The Little Prince. If you are a volunteer driver and chaperone, please meet at the classroom at 9:30. Thank you!

There is no school on Friday, February 16th because of a Teacher In-Service day.

Enjoy your President’s Day holiday on February 19th and 20th.

The auction item will be created by Jennifer Bachhuber, parent helpers and the 3rd graders. The first day to create the project will be Friday, February 23rd at 12:30. If you would like to help, please contact Jennifer. Thank you, Jennifer, for your lead on this important fundraising class project.

The Students are continuing to memorize multiplication facts 2-12 in class and at home. Twice weekly, in class 2 minute tests determine mastery. Please help your child memorize their facts by whatever method clicks with their learning style. Some students memorize facts by: flashcards, worksheets, apps, games, playing the piano, parents verbally drilling, bouncing a ball, singing a song or websites such as An ice cream sundae party will be celebrated before Spring Break, April 1st to mark the completion of this important skill.

The students are also memorizing all 50 states and where they are on the map. We will take it slowly and memorize 10 at a time. They are not required to memorize the capitals but I have created an extra challenge for those students who enjoy the ability to stretch their knowledge and reach for a goal. Parents, look for practice maps and state lists coming home with homework.

The Achieve 3000 online program has created a wonderful way to encourage growth and development with reading skills. The students have seen an increase in Lexile reading levels. The Lexile reports were sent home with the 2nd Trimester progress reports. If you have any questions about these reports, please contact me.

The students are working on an at home book report, which is due on February 28th. Poster paper has been provided, for students to create a movie style poster about a book they have completed this month. The handout and rubric was given out two weeks ago. Please let me know if your child needs another handout.

In religion, the students have been involved in a kindness project. They have enjoyed creating ways to bring kindness to the St. John community. Here are some of the actions they have been working on: Valentine cards for the staff in the parish office and the school office, valentines for their pre-k buddies, kindness cards for veterans, valentines for parishioners, affirmations for classmates, affirmations for faculty, giving a “Be Kind” pin away to friends and family and reading a book entitled, The Kindness Ninjas in class. My hope is that you can see the ripple effect of the kindness project that the 3rd graders have created for the community.

Thank you for all that you do for the class and school.

God Bless you and your family as we enter into this Lenten season.

Mrs. Lisa Castillo



January 22nd to February 2nd

Dear Parents,

This week we said goodbye to our Bishop Blanchet aid, Gianna, affectionately named, Greg or G. She was a wonderful addition to the classroom and very helpful to the students. The students made her a card. Her semester ended and we wish her well as she finishes her senior year at Blanchet. Go Braves!!

The students are excited about their weather investigations and the Power Point presentations they are creating in teams of 3 or 4. Each team will be ready to show their presentations on Catholic School Sunday. Please come to the church for the beautiful Mass at 10:30. Students should wear dress uniform or cultural dress. Following the Mass, come to the classroom to see all of the great work by the 3rd grade.

The STEAM activity this week is to create a rain gauge that can be placed in the school garden and around campus so that rain data can be collected and graphed. Each group will use materials to design and create a working meteorology tool. The students will use science, engineering, art and math to create the rain gauge. Look for these creative rain gauges around campus!

The students are investigating Kindness. Each day they are journaling about small and large ways they are showing kindness to those in their families, school and the larger community. This ties in with the school theme, “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before all, that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.” The classroom door is decorated with the warm sun shining with rays of kind acts. Come to Open House on Sunday, January 28th to see your child’s good works.

During snack time I’m reading a book called, Kindness Ninja, about a group of karate students on a secret mission to spread kindness in their community. Watch out for a “kindness ninja” at your house! You might be surprised by beds being made, more pleases and thank yous, dishes being washed and rooms being picked up!

Monday-Community DayFree dress and bring one can of food.

Tuesday-Volunteer DayCrazy sock day. Thank you to all the parents who volunteer many hours in the classrooms and school community. We appreciate you!!

Wednesday-Nation DayWear a favorite sweatshirt with your uniform. Sing patriotic songs and celebrate our great nation.

Thursday-Staff-Vocation-Teacher Daybring one flower and dress like a teacher.

Friday-Student Day- Free dress, Purple and Gold celebration

I hope to see you on Catholic School Sunday, January 28th at 10:30.

Take care and God bless.

Mrs. Lisa Castillo

January 3rd through January 12th

Dear Parents,

Thank you for the generous scrip gift and other gifts. I feel appreciated! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. January is a busy time and a focused work time in the 3rd grade. Your children have grown visibly from the beginning of the year! They are also very capable and excellent learners. The following curriculum break down will focus on the Archdiocesan standards and Schoolwide Learning Expectations that will be taught this month.

Class Mass- 8:30 on January 10th. Please join us in the church.

Field Trip- The field trip to The Seattle Children’s Theater is planned and coming up on February 15th. We will be seeing the classic story, The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Please send in a check for $12 made payable to St. John School. If you would like to drive, please fill out the form that I sent out with the field trip form and pay $12 for yourself too.

Thinking Ahead- The always reverent and very important Catholic School’s Week Mass is on January 28th at 10:30. This kicks off Catholic Schools’ Week at St. John. If you would like to come into the classroom and speak about your vocation, please email me to set up a date and time. Thank you!

Again, thank you for your support in and out of the classroom. A special thank you goes out to the library helpers, art helpers, and room parents.

God Bless you and your family!

Mrs. Lisa Castillo

Religion– The students will learn the responses of the Mass and The Apostles’ Creed by heart. They will create mnemonic devices to help them remember what to say and when to say it. This is a fun way to be a Christ-Centered child who participates in the liturgy and faith traditions.

Math- The students are learning the how and why of multiplication by using blocks to represent numbers, creating arrays to represent numbers, using the Commutative Property to explain a multiplication rule and writing number sentences representing real-life multiplication situations. To ensure that the students meet or exceed Archdiocesan and Washington State standards they are also using flashcards and handouts to help in the memorization process. Please practice 10 to 15 minutes a night to help your child know the multiplication facts 0 through 12 by heart.

Writing– The students are sparking their imaginations by using a visual learning technique that I learned at the Seattle Art Museum teacher training, where they look at a photo or piece of art and then use the prompts of See-Think-Wonder. This process allows students to have a discussion, share ideas, write down ideas and form sentences to build a paragraph. It’s a very effective tool for taking writing from the brainstorming step to the publishing step in the writing process, which is an Archdiocesan and state standard.

Reading- The students are in reading groups to read novels at a challenging Lexile level. Each student shows they are Active Learners by meeting weekly to discuss and respond to reading prompts: Characters, Setting, Plot, Problems, Solutions and more. Our focus is on interesting vocabulary and projecting our voices in a group setting.  Reading with proficiency is a Schoolwide Learning Expectation.

Science- The students are investigating weather across 7 continents. They will research, take notes and create a Power-Point presentation to demonstrate what they have learned about weather. This investigation completes numerous state and Archdiocesan standards.