Mr. Sturm’s Parent FAQ 2009-2010
I have put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help to give you some basic information about my class. Inside you will find information about my behavior system, homework and more.
When are my child's specials?
Please see the attached schedules. This will also be available on my website(s)
Are you co-teaching this year?
No. I will be teaching all of the core subjects of ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies.
How can I get information about class?
I continue to develop our new class website, available from the district website under teacher web pages, keep checking back to see what is new.
What if I need to get in touch with you?
The easiest way to get a quick response is through email, I check my email several times during the school day. My email is
You can also call my voice mail at 687-2491 Extension #1073 and I will return your call as soon as possible.
Do you do a class snack?
We will have snack each day at 1:45. Students will be responsible for bringing in their own snacks. Due to allergy sensitive students in my room no snacks containing nuts should be brought into the classroom. See a list of appropriate snacks attached to this handout.
What about parties?
We will have holiday parties. If you are interested in helping to plan holiday parties, in being a class “room mother” please let me know.
How does your behavior system work?
I use a simple three step “stoplight” behavior plan (green, yellow, red) in which students get three chances each day. Here's how it works;
- If a student breaks a rule the student will be asked to pull a green chip. This is a warning.
- The next time a student breaks a rule the student will be directed to pull a yellow chip and go to the time out area and follow the time out procedure for 10 minutes.
- If the student breaks the time out procedure they will be directed to pull their red chip and take a 10 minute time out outside of the classroom. ( In an alternative third grade classroom)
- If a student returns from the 10 minute time out and breaks another rule the student will be directed to pull their red chip and take a 10 minute timeout.
- A student that pulls their red chip will take a note home to have signed by the parents informing them. If the student forgets to bring the note back signed, the teacher will call home.
- After all three chips are pulled and a child continues to break rules. They will be referred to the principal.
- Any severely dangerous or offensive behavior (fighting, swearing, etc.) will be immediately directed to the principal.
- If the class is having too many chips pulled overall Mr. Sturm may increase consequences and/or revoke class privileges temporarily (i.e. PAT) to tighten up management.
- If a student has multiple red chips pulled within a month a plan will be developed between the student, the parents and the teacher to improve behavior.
- If the teacher gives prior notice, multiple red chips within a given time period may disqualify students from field trips.
- Students who do not pull their green chip at the end of each day receive a ticket which is used for a drawing for various class rewards.
- Students also have a Positive behavior system as a class in which they earn “P.A.T.” (Preferred Activity Time) Every time they do well they can earn 15 seconds to a minute of time which is banked up and used once a week for a fun activity we do together as a class
How can you support and monitor student behavior at home?:
Ask students how they are in doing with their chips. Because the green chip is used as a warning I do not suggest giving consequences at home to students for pulling their green chip. If a student is pulling a yellow chip frequently in class, an at-home consequence may be appropriate. If I notice a pattern of misbehaving in class I will contact you to discuss this so we can work as a team to improve the child's behavior.
How much homework will my student have?
Homework expectations are higher in the third grade. My goals are to increase student learning through high expectations and to prepare students by having them develop a successful homework routine. I appreciate your support by helping your child to develop good study habits.
Work Load: Students in my class will have homework of some kind every night. My students are expected to read at least 15 minutes each day (at least once over the weekend), and will have 10-20 minutes of homework and/or projects in various subjects. Typical nightly homework could include a math “study link”, weekly spelling practice, or working on a reading, writing or Social Studies project. I ask that parents sign or initial in the weekly planner to verify that the student read that day. We will focus the first few days and weeks on making sure students write down all of the assigned homework and get in good habits of turning work in on time.
It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that each day:
- Accurately write down the night’s homework
- Planner, handouts, homework and reading book gets home
- Homework is completed
- Reads for at least fifteen minutes
- Gets the weekly planner initialed by you
- Returns the homework, planner, and reading book to school
If the student does not have work completed or did not get their planner signed they will be expected to complete the work or to read at study hall during the next recess. In addition students who do not complete in-class assignments may be kept from recess to complete that work.
You can help your child be successful by:
Setting aside a special place to work on it
Making sure they have a pencil to do it with
Setting a regular time to do it
Making sure they know it is their responsibility.
Ask them about their nightly homework, and look over the work they accomplish.
Absences: Students who are absent are to make up work that they have missed. When the student returns to school, it is their responsibility to ask what they have missed and finish that work. If you know that a student will be absent for a long period of time (such as family vacations), please let me know ahead of time so that I can make accommodations. It is school policy that students do not receive homework on family vacations, but giving me a heads up will allow me to make sure that students are able to catch up with the class before and after their vacation.
Reading Homework: The major goal of my reading curriculum is to develop a love of reading in your children and to create lifelong readers. In addition, recently, the largest-ever international study of reading found that the single most important predictor of academic success is the amount of leisure time children spend reading books, more important even than economic or social status. And one of the few predictors of high achievement in math and science is the amount of time children devote to pleasure reading. This shows how important this nightly reading is to your child's development.
I ask you to support this by encouraging your student to follow through on reading each day, and helping me to encourage them to select books that are appropriate for their interests and their reading levels. I will spend many lessons discussing how to make good book choices, and introducing to them a variety of authors and genres for them to try. I hope you also will give them book suggestions, but it is always best if they choose books for themselves as they will be more invested in reading books of their own choosing.
We also discuss difficulties of different books. We use three terms; easy, just right and challenging. I try to get students to as often as possible to be reading books that are “just right” for their reading level. Help your child to figure this out. Some children are tempted to pick books that they are not quite ready for yet (often Harry Potter or other thick books) Other students will pick books that are far too easy for them, so watch for those sorts of patterns.
You may wish to discuss with your child the best time and place for reading to happen at your house. Encouraging them to pick a time and place that fits with your schedule and gives them a quiet distraction-free time and place to read. Also, don't think that third grade is too old to read to your child, third graders love to be read to. If you wish you can read to them, or read with them, alternating turns reading. You are a great model of fluent reading! You can count these sorts of experiences as student's reading for the day.
I am also trying to get students in the habit of always having a book for school. They should get used to traveling with their book between home and school. Students may be bringing a book from home for their reading or they may be bringing home books from my class library or the school library. Please help them to remember to pack up their book each day. Also, students will be bringing some books from my class home with them, if you could occasionally scour your shelves for books that need to come back to my class library or the school library I would appreciate it. All my books should have “Sturm” written on the inside cover.
I know this is a lot of information, thank you for reading through all of this, but it is lengthy because reading is a priority in my classroom. I know that nothing is more important to the development of children's abilities in every subject area than reading and being read to. I look forward to partnering with you in helping your child to become a lifelong reader.
Spelling homework: Students will be introduced to the new spelling unit on every Monday. (or Tuesday if we have Monday off) There will be four pages from their workbook which will be due on Thursdays. Students will also receive a home-study sheet to study for their test with. Spelling tests will be on Friday's. You may wish to get into the habit of doing studying for spelling tests on Thursday nights. Students can then bring home their spelling notebooks to show you how they are performing on their spelling tests.
Writing Projects: In September we will be working on developing ideas for writing projects. For this month I will be encouraging them to take their notebooks home every night so they have it to write in when they have an idea, or something interesting happens, so that they can develop ideas for their writing. Starting in October students will be assigned to turn in writing projects about every month. More information on these will follow in October.
Book Projects: We will do one book project in each quarter. I will send home specific information on these projects at least three weeks before they are due.
Math Homework: Almost every night students will take home a study link that reinforces the days math lesson. You are welcome to help your child if they are having trouble with them. If your child has a very hard time with a study link or is unable to complete it, please let me know by writing a note on the study link and I can provide extra help in class. Students will not be held back from recess for not finishing work they do not understand, please just write me a small note so I know that is the reason why it was not complete. Every day I check over student's study link right before recess. I scan each one to see if they understood the concept and got most questions correct. If so, I give them a check mark. If I see they got several wrong, I will work with them on it before they go out or talk about the study link during math time after lunch.
Do you celebrate birthdays?
We recognize birthdays in class as they happen throughout the year. If your child has a summer birthday and you would like to celebrate a half-birthday or near the end of the year just let me know. Some parents wish to bring in treats for their child's birthday, you are welcome to do so. However be aware we have many allergy sensitive students. It is important to me that all students are able to participate in birthday treats. Therefore, please bring in a treat that all of our students can enjoy. This means bringing in store bought items not containing Nuts, Dairy, Eggs or Flour. Frozen treats such as popsicles are ideal. Simply bring them in the morning or leave them at the greeter's desk and she will call up so I can pick them up, we do have freezers to store them during the day, we usually celebrate them during our snack time at around 1:45 each day. We have 22 students (and one teacher :)
What do you need to do when your child is student of the week?
Check the following schedule to see when it is your turn. Fill out the form on “10 things you may not know about me.” On the weekend before being student of the week your child will need to collect a bagful of items to display on the bulletin board on the Monday of that week. The items should help to show the class more about the personality, hobbies and family of the student. Keep in mind everything brought in needs to be able to be stapled or held up with push pins. Here are some examples of things that could bring in:
- Pictures of the student with family or friends
- Pictures of the student on vacation
- Awards that the student has won
- Objects that have special meaning to the student
- Objects that represent hobbies or interests of the student (ex. Drumsticks, a skiing map, a Bills sign)
They should have at least 20 total combined pictures and objects to display. It's a big bulletin board :)
Well, that is probably more information than you needed on the first week of school but I hope this will be a handy resource for you as you have questions about the policies and procedures of my class. This document will be available to download from my website and if you ever have any questions about anything, please contact me. I look forward to working with your child this year and partnering with you in their education.
Student of the WeekWeek of October 5th / Branson Yuhas
Week of October 13th / Luc Williams
Week of October 19th / Jack Westermeier
Week of October 26th / Gretchen Stoll
Week of November 2nd / Joshua Stahlka
Week of November 9th / Dante Sperduto
Week of November 16th / Adam Russ
Week of November 30th / Elliot Robinson
Week of December 7th / Timothy Potenza
Week of December 14th / Hannah Lewandowski
Week of December 21st / Emily Krieger
Week of January 11th / Matthew Jeffe
Week of January 18th / Mateusz Jasinski
Week of January 25th / Beatrice Hoffman
Week of February 2nd / Cheyenne Graff
Week of February 8th / Samuel Grace
Week of February 22nd / Christopher Fuller
Week of March 1st / Riley Evingham
Week of March 8th / Elizabeth Del Vecchio
Week of March 15th / Ava Danieu
Week of March 23rd / Llywelyn Dalrymple
Week of March 29th / William Bateman