Posted 11/16/15

Please note that the Honors Assembly is tomorrow (Tuesday, November 17) at 8am.

Parent Newsletter Quarter 2 Week 3 (11/13/15)

Dear Parents & Guardians,

First, a review of notices:

  • Parent/Teacher conferences are on Friday, November 20 (the date on last week’s newsletter was an error on my part and has been corrected). Your scheduled time is the same as it was for quarter 1, but your student should have it written in his/her planner under that day.

  • Our canned food drive will be running until that day, so please send in canned goods anytime next week.

  • Our Scholastic forms are also due the same day. Feel free to order online, send forms in with your students, or bring them in next Friday to the conference. I will make the final order that evening.

  • Grandparents’ Day is Monday, November 23. Please send me an email with the name of the special person that will be coming in as well as his/her relation to your student.

On to classes!

Our RLAW this week connected to recent science lessons involving endangered species and heavily focused on what we (both children and adults) can do to help. Students continued to focus on expository texts and finally got time enough in a tech lab to complete another reading assessment.

In math we have discussed both the American and metric systems for measuring length, liquid volume, and weight/mass. The last couple of days we have been applying those skills extensively to word problems and our class is already looking forward to talking about time next week.

Our science this week included a compare/contrast activity involving different rocks. Jumping off from that we discussed the three categories of rocks as well as the varying hardness of minerals and how one can tell if one mineral is harder than another.

In Social Studies we looked back at inventions over time and have gone from creating sequenced timelines or lists involving one type of technology (e.g.: how transportation has changed throughout history) to trying to invent our own for the future.

Enjoy your weekend,

Ivan Rice

Parent Newsletter Quarter 2 Week 2 (11/6/15)

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Lots of bookkeeping today! Firstly, our canned food drive has begun. Your students can drop off anything you send with them in the box in our classroom. Today I sent home Scholastic Reader’s Club flyers today for the month of November. More online orders means the books will arrive faster (as we saw today), but feel free to order however you want if you are interested. Thanks to our October orders I was able to purchase eighteen new books for my personal classroom collection! Orders are due by Friday, November 19, which brings me to my next announcement:

We have parent conferences on Friday, November 19. Your appointment times are the same as last quarter. I will have students write them in their planners next week (so please make sure your students are bringing planners every day). The following week, Grandparent Day is on Monday, November 23 from 9-10. Please send me an email in advance with the name of the special person who is coming and what their relation is to your student. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have grandparents, so we’ll often see aunts, uncles, or even older cousins. They must, however, be 18 or older and able and willing to assist children with a learning activity.

Lastly, the Thanksgiving assembly is the following day (Tuesday, November 24). We will be on Schedule B for that day.

This week in RLAW we talked (and read and wrote) a fair amount about how people help their governments. We learned a lot about voting and will continue to write more argumentative pieces going forward both in and out of class.

In math we finally wrapped up Unit 2 with a test and have begun Unit 3, which focuses on measurement. Students will hopefully be climbing up the walls (not literally) over the weekend looking for various ways to measure at home.

Our science spent a lot more time this week discussing the consequences of various changes in ecosystems. We have explored animals relocating, becoming endangered, and becoming extinct.

In Social Studies we examined the growth of small communities during the 1800s into the big cities we know today, focusing some of our attention on both immigration from Europe and the Great Migration of African American workers from the South.

Enjoy your weekend,

Ivan Rice

Parent Newsletter Quarter 2 Week 1 (10/30/15)

Dear Parents & Guardians,

We have certainly hit the ground running here in quarter 2! First I’d like to thank the families that placed Scholastic orders this month. Next month’s order will come much sooner and hopefully arrive much earlier in December. I would not expect this order until the week before Thanksgiving at the earliest. Also please remember that Grandparents’ Day will be on Monday, November 23 from 9-10 in the morning. The next day will be our Thanksgiving Assembly (Tuesday, November 24).

In RLAW we picked up right where we left off and actually had a spelling test in the middle of the week! We also have a second one scheduled for Monday. This week we focused a lot on our narrative writing and finished two drafts of a story about moving.

In math we have been working on multiplying single digit numbers by multiples of ten along with two step word problems. Students have been continuing to invent their own word problems and a few even had the chance to quiz each other.

Our science unit has been laser focused on ecosystems and relationships between organisms. Students have been learning many new ways to categorize them. You only need to check their spelling words for the week to see what I’m talking about!

In Social Studies we have been learning all about westward expansion and imagining what life was like for explorers such as Lewis and Clark (at least one student even wrote a narrative about the two of them).

Happy Halloween!

Ivan Rice

Posted 10/23/15 (edited at 1:17pm same day)

Dear Parents,

With the last exam turned in and quarter one officially behind us, I want to thank all of you for your support. Your students have grown a great deal already and I am excited to see what they will be showing all of us after quarter two.

Your student has a Scholastic Reading Club order form with them today that is due next Friday (10/30) for anyone interested. From the September order, with only a couple submitted, I was able to get seven new books for the classroom at no cost.

If you did not like your student's photo, there will be a makeup day on Tuesday, November 3. Please call (ext. 2051), email (ricei@psmnow.com), or send a note with your student if you would like a form sent home.

Lastly, Grandparents’ Day will be on Monday, November 23 (the Monday before Thanksgiving) from 9-10am. Mark your calendars!

Enjoy your weekend,

Ivan Rice

Exam Schedule

























ART Exam

9:30- 10:00










10:30- 11:30




 Regular Dismissal (No RTI)

Dismiss 10:30


12:00 (No RTI)

Dismiss 10:30

Parent Newsletter Week 9 (10/16/15)

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Since it worked so well last week, I thought I’d start this week’s letter with another lost item search! It’s Book 3 of the “Inside Out” series, titled Journey into the Mind. Its cover features characters from the movie. If you happen to find it, please send it to school on Monday with your student.

With quarter 1 almost in the rearview mirror, let’s take a look at how we spent our last full week before exams. Before we do, please make sure to check your child’s things for their study guide. I am posting a copy in the For Parents section of the website, but each student has a printed copy in his or her bag.

In math we have been emphasizing fact families and word problems, splitting our time between the latter and those shuffled multiplication tables that have given a few of your kids so much trouble over the last few weeks. While not easy to master, I’ve seen marked improvement. Speaking of, we are now taking daily quick fluency quizzes to measure our progress with our math facts as the year rolls on. These are not graded formally, but students are challenging themselves to get more right at a faster pace every day!

We spent a fair amount of this week reviewing and assessing in RLA from the first unit. Students have been practicing with reading comprehension questions and have a new set of spelling words for a test on Tuesday.

Social studies this week has focused completely on our quarter 1 research project. A few students were excited to find out that this one would not include a presentation, but enough were disappointed that I will make sure our quarter 2 research project at least includes some type of presentation of all of their hard work. I can’t wait to see the finished products on Monday!

Like RLA, we had a lot of assessments in science this week. Our students have become absolute experts at categorizing animals, and can even teach you a game to play at home if you’re so inclined. We are currently beginning to learn about habitats and ecosystems, although this will carry over into quarter 2.

Please look out for Scholastic order forms to go out with your students early next week.

Thank you!

Ivan Rice

Posted 10/13/15:

Photos were sent home today. The class photo will be sent along when it arrives. We are not expecting it immediately.

Parent Newsletter Week 8

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Our math class has finally been drilling their new multiplication and division skills almost constantly. The students are aware that our goal is to learn each fact as well as their own name, with the hope that they can respond with equal quickness and certainty to basic multiplication and division problems.

In RLA we assessed reading comprehension and began having some fun rehearsing different parts for an informal class play that we’ll be putting on for each other on Monday of next week if we have time. Ms. Mixon was also kind enough to drop by and give the kids a wonderful refresher on a story they read earlier in the quarter.

In science we have been stretching our critical thinking skills to the limit categorizing animals and using clues and careful questioning to guess mystery animals based on their traits.

Our social studies class glossed over the American Revolution, and will be able to do a research project on a small part of it next week (keep an eye on the class site for another announcement about that). For this week we focused on the sequence of events that led to the Revolution and the motivations of both sides.

Lastly, please check your student’s bags/coats for a missing watch that disappeared from one student’s desk this afternoon. I’ve looked all around the classroom and am still hoping it will turn up, but stranger things have happened than a student picking up the wrong watch.

Thank you!

Ivan Rice

Parent Newsletter Week 7

Dear Parents & Guardians,

As most of you have hopefully heard from your children, there is a Parent Enrichment tomorrow (Saturday, October 3) from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for our brand new math curriculum. This is not just for those new to the school, but for every parent/guardian in grades K-5 (6-8 parents are also encouraged to attend). This will be held in our new cafeteria.

This week in social studies we began a miniature research project that will continue into next week. Students have been paired off and are spending time during class looking up information about their colony.

Our math class has finally begun multiplying and dividing uses 6s and 8s, and their homework is reflecting that. Though we still need a lot of practice with them, the students are learning several little tricks to use for each number that will help them.

In RLA we finished connecting problem solving to inventions and new discoveries. We have now begun looking at national landmarks and monuments in expository texts and discussing how they can teach us about our country. Students will also be in for a surprise as the spelling words for next week will begin to ramp up in terms of percentages of challenging words.

In science we have been learning all about animal body parts and functions. Students have also continued to differentiate and categorize not only animals, but individual body parts as well in advance of the next chapter, which will help them finally formally categorize animals.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow morning!

Ivan Rice

Posted 9/30/15:

Please note that there is a Parent Enrichment math workshop this Saturday (October 3) that is required for all parents of students in K-5 classrooms. It will begin at 9 a.m. sharp and end at 12 noon.

I will mention this again in the parent newsletter on Friday.

Parent Newsletter: Week 6

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Before we begin, please make sure (if you haven’t already) to sign up as a field trip chaperone with the front office! The date for our first field trip hasn’t been set just yet, but it will be coming up pretty soon and I want us to have plenty of parents/guardians coming along to help keep our students engaged.

Additionally, next Friday (October 2nd), is our 2nd Annual Harvest Day! Please come in from 9-10am to engage in a Harvest-themed activity or two with our class.

This week we’ve worked extremely hard stretching our brains around math word problems, both writing and solving them! Your students turned in some really brilliant ideas that they will see in quizzes in the coming weeks.

In RLA we read about a few brilliant inventions and used our close reading skills to identify cause and effect and see how writers use it to make a sequence of events clearer. We also began to learn about the editing process, and will continue next week!

Our focus in science was on animal life cycles, and students got to see how all animals are similar to each other, as well as how many are different. In comparing and contrasting these life cycles, our students learned that each broad group of animals (mammals, birds, etc.) has very little variation between species.

After testing our knowledge in our first unit (How does where you live affect how you live?), we jumped right into unit 2 (How do communities change over time?). This led to a little review and a whole lot of new information. They made graphic organizers that they will be using for the whole unit, which will also serve as study aides for the next test (and for any quizzes there might be in between).

Hope to see you all in a week!

Ivan Rice

Parent Newsletter: Week 4

September 11, 2015

Dear Parents & Guardians,

We have now wrapped up four weeks at Providence St. Mel, and today was by far our best Friday yet! I look forward to the continued growth of our students and to the growth of the class as a whole as well.

This week in Science we studied hard and tested our knowledge of plant traits, life cycles, and needs. We have also finally begun our eagerly anticipated unit on animals, brainstorming and thinking critically about what an animal really needs versus what it needs to be comfortable.

Our Social Studies work was all about renewable and nonrenewable resources, and thinking of ways we can protect both to ensure that our great grandchildren inherit a better Earth than we have today. We also had a lively debate centered around the ethics of cutting down trees.

In Language Arts we connected our knowledge of traditions to the essential question: “What can traditions teach us about cultures?” We read several stories that featured traditions from all over the world, and even spent a little time writing about our own family traditions here.

Our Math work this week was in large part geared towards continuing to master multiplying and dividing with 9s and 3s, but we have worked 4s into the rotation as well. By the end of the weekend students should have cut out their cards from either their homework books or their student activity books to practice every evening...especially anything we continue to struggle with!

Conference times will either be posted here or sent individually as soon as possible. I am assembling the final list now and will submit it for approval immediately afterward.

Enjoy your weekend, and I hope to see as many new families as possible tomorrow morning!

Ivan Rice

Posted 9/9/15

Yesterday I sent home conference slips with your students. Many of you have returned them and/or emailed me (ricei@psmnow.com) with your preferred times. If you do not return those forms by Friday I will have to assign you a time. Please read the parent newsletter below for any details you may have forgotten.

Today I sent home order forms for Scholastic Books as well as your picture day forms. Please turn in all book forms (and money) by September 18 (conference day). Please turn in all photo forms (and money) by picture day, which is September 22.


Ivan Rice

Parent Newsletter: Week 3

September 4, 2015

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Important note: No school on Monday for Labor Day!

Thanks very much to those of you able to visit for today’s open house. Anyone that couldn’t make it, we’ll hope to see you next time. Parent teacher conferences will start to look a lot closer next week, so please begin thinking about what time you can make it in on Friday, September 18. We will be doing 15-minute conferences between 11am and 2pm, and then again between 4pm and 7pm. Punctuality is absolutely essential, because I will not be free to let anyone stay over their time limit. I will send a note home on Monday with the students, but feel free to email me at least three preferred times now at ricei@psmnow.com.

After three weeks, we are looking more and more like a proud Providence St. Mel 3rd grade class. Student reading and writing has been improving steadily as we shake off any remaining summer rust. This week we wrote from the perspective of a tiny seed as it went through its entire life cycle. Students chose their own seed, and I’ve seen everything from coconuts to pine cones. I look forward to reading them more thoroughly over the weekend.

The students are now proficient when multiplying 2s, 5s, 10s, and 9s (we’ve learned a lot of different tricks for those), and have just started working with 3s. They are not far behind with dividing by 9, and I expect the 3s to follow early next week. They will finally login to their online math content on Tuesday, and can play our curricular math games at home from then on.

Hope you all have a wonderful three-day weekend.

Ivan Rice

September 2, 2015

Homework for today is now up on the Homework tab. I will try to update it every day, but please continue checking planners first.

Parent Newsletter: Week 2

August 31, 2015

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Before I say anything about the last week of learning, please remember that we are hosting parents and guardians in our classrooms this Friday (September 4th) from 9-10am. You will be able to see a little more of how the class is taking shape as well as learn a little bit from your children, we hope.

Last week we began to see a little bit more of what our year in third grade is going to look like, and we even managed to have some fun while doing it!

The class has continued to blaze through Math lessons, picking up new skills and tricks along the way. This week we started working on division, and have been connecting our multiplication/division fact families on a daily basis in order to better master them. When you’re at home, feel free to ask your child: If I know 5 x 4 = 20, what other equations do I know? They can also do it with division!

Our Reading/Language Arts patterns will finally normalize this week with vocabulary and spelling quizzes every (I hope) Friday. We will also be reading a lot of fiction about animals, especially wolves.

In Science we turned in some truly eye-popping drawings of our own original plant inventions. The only requirement: That they have the three parts that all plants have. You’ll have to ask your child what those are!

Our Social Studies class has done a great job differentiating between the three broad types of communities (urban, suburban, and rural). They did such a great job that they not only got to hear the classic song Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, but they even got to write their own versions! Please check the classroom website for links to the original both with and without words (in the For Students section). The karaoke version is so they can practice their own if they want. They’ll be getting those sheets back tomorrow (Tuesday) so they will get the chance.

Hope to see all of you Friday!

Ivan Rice

Posted 8/25/15

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am about to post Room 205's weekly schedule in the For Parents section. If I have to modify the schedule, I will update the version here and post another message letting you know. Please check it at your leisure and note that PE is on Wednesdays. Students are required to wear their uniforms under their clothes and bring a pair of gym shoes to change into before class.


Ivan Rice

Posted: 8/21/15

Parent Newsletter: Week 1

Greetings Parents and Guardians!

It’s hard to believe that we’re only a week through school. I feel like I’ve already gotten to know most of the children quite well, although there’s always more to learn. This week we began learning our routines and classroom procedures, and our class has learned them all, if not mastered them just yet. 

Subject-wise, our life Science unit on plants and animals is well under way. We’ve been looking at the ways different environments affect animals (as well as ourselves) as well as the fundamental differences between organisms and nonliving things. This connects wonderfully to our Social Studies unit on communities and geography, in large part because of the causal relationships between environments and communities as well as their inhabitants.

As of today, we finally have Wonders on our iPads, which means the kids will start receiving regular Reading/Language Arts homework on their iPads. They have been really good sports in the meantime learning information about story structure and genre. The short story Kaffa’s Discovery highlighted teamwork in this week’s reading, and connected nicely with Science as well.

The students are moving through Math at a nice pace. We have been solidifying some of our existing knowledge of multiplication while adding on new concepts such as equal shares drawings.

Our biggest problem thus far has probably been organization, and so I have taken steps to fix it. Later tonight I will add a list of all items currently at school that belong to your students for each subject.  Please check your child’s backpack and study area for any additional materials, and then check that against the modified supply list that I will include in that same submission. All of this will be found in For Parents here on the site. Please label (name and subject) any notebooks or folders you find at home that do not already have labels.

Lastly, please remember to fully charge your iPads every night, since we will be using them daily from now on.


Mr. Ivan Rice


Posted: August 17, 2015

Hello PSM families!

Our first day was wonderfully chaotic, and while we didn't get everything done that I had planned, the kids were all excited and very happy to be here.

A quick note about our current schedule: Our bathroom break is relatively late in the morning, so anything you can do at home to make sure they use the bathroom right before leaving for school would make things more pleasant for them in the mornings and get them on a better bathroom schedule. If it becomes a consistent issue, I will look at altering the schedule, but I prefer to think of that as a last resort.

You have probably noticed a distinct lack of homework thus far, just a little bit of unwritten math practice. That will change, don't worry.

One final note, I hope to finally get everything going with the iPads tomorrow. I can't make any promises, since there are still a few things I need on my end, so anything you can do to preach patience to the little ones will go a long way. I'm as eager as they are to begin using them!

Thank you for everything so far,

Ivan Rice

Posted: August 12, 2015
LAST EDIT: August 15, 2015

Welcome to 3rd grade, PSM families!

As of today, only the Links tab is up and running. You will have to copy and paste each link, but they connect to the materials your child will be using the most on his or her iPad. I will change this message when I add more for you to explore.

For those of you that don't know, Providence St Mel requires background checks for any and all field trip chaperons. If you had one in the last few years, you should still be fine this year (although I will check on that and get back to you). If you have not been approved to chaperon field trips yet and wish to be, please contact the front office sometime in the next couple of weeks. I suggest you wait until Tuesday (August 18th) at the earliest, since they will likely be a little overwhelmed on Monday.

New items posted in the For Parents section:
  • Orientation Slides
  • Supply List
  • Gourmet Gorilla August Schedule

Mr. Ivan Rice
Extension 2051
Subpages (1): For Students