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 mathplayground.com. 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.

December 4th through 20th

Dear Parents,

This is a very busy time of year and I will update you here with all of the important details of this Advent season.

I had a conversation with a few students before Mass began on December 8th about the wonderfully warm heated floors. One student asked why heat floors? I said the practical answer, that it’s an alternate way to heat a room instead of a furnace. But one child said, “The warm floors must be for Jesus, because he wears sandals and his feet might get cold.” So precious!

Thank you to art moms, Ms. Howe and Ms. Kim, the students created beautiful water color images of flowers and shells after learning about Georgia O’Keefe.

Last week two students, Nika and Grace, brought in their violins to practice during music class. I asked them to play a few songs while the students ate a snack. It was a beautiful mini-concert in the classroom! Thank you to our young musicians!!


Our Advent service project will be to contribute toys to Toys for Tots. The deadline is a quick one, December 11th, this coming Monday. I will try to see if we can extend it to a later date.  A toy purchased this weekend for a needy child would be well loved. Thank you!

There is an Advent prayer service every Monday in the church at 8:30. Please join us in the church. If you are running late that day, come in the south side entrance.

This Friday is Mass at 9:00 for the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Please remember dress uniform and join us if you can. The class would love to have you sit with us, right side 5th row, facing the altar.

Holiday Concert- The Christmas concert for the third grade is on December 19th at 7:00. Please have your child dress in festive holiday clothes. Send them up to the classroom at 6:45 to meet me there and I will take them over to the performance. Coats should remain with you and the students will join you after the concert in Egan Hall.

Math– Students are investigating the meaning of multiplication. Please continue memorizing those addition and subtraction facts each night.

Reading/Writing– Students are enjoying, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! Many giggles and laughter can be heard as we read about the Herdmans. The students are responding to the reading by analyzing the plot, setting, problems and solutions. This is a great book for a character focus, as we read how Imogene changes over time. If you haven’t read this book in awhile, I highly recommend it for the humor and focus on the meaning of Christmas.

Science- The students are investigating weather around the world. Ask your daughter or son what the 4 types of erosion are. (ice, water, wind and gravity) We talked about the strength of a glacier and how it can pick up and move large boulders.

S.T.E.A.M.- Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math are combined in activities that explore a challenge. Students work collaboratively to solve a problem. This week the students asked, How do we build a better bridge? Here are the results.

Christmas break begins on Wednesday, December 20th at noon. I wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year with your children. I will see you all again on January 3rd.

Look who came in for a visit.

Thank you for all that you do!

God Bless,

Mrs. Lisa Castillo


The Week of November 27th to December 1st

Dear Parents,

Report cards for the first trimester will be coming home in your child’s backpack. Please look it over with your child and discuss all of the growth and development. The Growth Mindset ideas come to mind when seeing how much the students have learned these last three months in the 3rd grade. “I can do difficult things. Feedback helps me improve. I don’t quit until it’s my best work.” are all concepts used in a growth mindset classroom.  Your children should be very proud of themselves. Please return the signed report card and the envelope. You keep one copy of the report card for yourself.

Scholastic book orders are due by Thursday, November 30th. Please remember to let me know if this is a Christmas present so that I can have you pick up the order from the classroom.

Last week the 3rd grade invited their pre-k buddies upstairs to the classroom. As part of our Achieve 3000 reading celebration, the students read and drew pictures with their little buddies. Thank you to the families that contributed juice, cupcakes, popcorn and rice crispy treats for the celebration.

The play Ada’s Violin, by Book It Theater, was a big hit last Tuesday. The students were touched by the true story of poor recyclers who create beautiful music from homemade instruments. On Wednesday the students will make instruments of their own. Stay tuned.


The students are beginning a weather unit in Science. They will be recording, graphing and learning all about the weather on the 7 continents. The students will create a rain gauge, a weather book and learn about the tools of a meteorologist. This is an especially good time of year to study weather in Seattle!

Math finds the students completing subtraction skills and beginning to investigate multiplication. Please continue to practice subtraction and addition math facts 1-20 so that they are known by heart. This skill will help tremendously when we begin memorizing multiplication facts.

Thank you for all of your continued teamwork and support. I appreciate all that you do for your child, the classroom and me.

God Bless! Look who visited St. John today!

Lisa Castillo