Classroom News

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to say thank you for welcoming me into your SCA family. I’m glad I finally got to match names and faces after conferences. I count each and every one of you as one of my blessings.
Mrs. Bucko

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November 22, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving Week! I know this week is always so busy. I ask you to pause a moment with your family and reflect on all the many blessings that you’ve been given. God is good!

Monday is a regular school day, with the exception of $1 donation and wear blue to support the fight against diabetes.  Our class will be presenting Life in Pilgrim Times research projects. I am so excited for the students to share all they’ve learned. We will also take time to reflect on the first trimester. It is always good to see where you’ve grown and where you need to work a little harder. I will be sharing their responses during conferences on Tuesday.

The office will send you a confirmation for the time you signed up for teacher conferences. 10 minutes is so short. I will have 25 families to see on Tuesday. I have many things to share. If we run out of time on Tuesday, I will make time for us to continue our conversation at a later date.

I will be posting our zoom link for conferences on Monday evening. I will send out a group email with the direct link. Everyone will have the same link. You’ll be in the waiting room of the zoom until your scheduled conference time. I don’t want to seem rude, but I will need to end our conference when the time period is over. There is no 5 minute break in between, so another family will be waiting to be let in right away.

There are a few things planned on Tuesday before all this happens. Tuesday is an 11:00 dismissal. Conferences start at 11:30. I’m going to say thank you in advance for your patience on Tuesday.

We have started our multiplication unit. That will continue all of December.  My hope is that 1 – 12 times tables will be memorized for speed and accuracy when we return to live teaching in January.

Advent starts Sunday, November 29. Much of our focus will be on the Jesse Tree – the family tree of Jesus. Our classroom will transform to prepare for the birth of Jesus.

Gratitude, blessings, thankful, love, peace… These are all words that we see all over. I’m sure many of you have them around your house at this time. Again - I ask you to pause. I am thankful that I have been blessed with an amazing new family. You have touched my heart. Thank you for sharing your children with me. They are truly a gift from God!

I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday. I have many new faces to put to memory.


Mrs. Bucko

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November 15, 2020

What a windy day! Mother Nature is stirring things up!

This week marks the start of the new trimester. We will be having group meetings on Monday to make sure that everyone has all the notes they need to complete their good paragraph for the Life in Pilgrim Times report. We will be composing those tomorrow and starting to type them on Tuesday. I posted a google doc on our google classroom for our good copies. I’d like them to show me what they have before they start typing on their google doc. If you are learning remotely tomorrow, make sure that a parent checks over your paragraph before typing.

We will continue to review subtraction with our morning board work, but we will be starting our multiplication unit as well. I’ve also included beginning geometry and fractions practice on prodigy so that we are creating a base for when we start those units.

In religion we will be continuing with the sacraments of healing and forgiveness. I’m sure it has been a while since they have gone to reconciliation. We will review the steps and prayers for that sacrament this week. We have been having unit reviews for religion, but we will also be including short quizzes this trimester.

We are going back into our wonders book before Thanksgiving break. Students will also be reviewing nouns, singular and plural nouns, spelling nouns when adding –es, and other special plural nouns.

We will wrap up Unit 6 in vocabulary. There will be a spelling and vocabulary test this Friday.

Thank you to everyone who had their child independently get on our practice zooms. There are a few students who haven’t yet, and some who only practiced once. I need to make sure that ALL students can get into their email, google classroom, and zoom. Make sure to check your devices.

On a similar note, it would be good to see if your family will need to sign out a device from SCA while we go remote after Christmas. I will be sending a quick form in our parent group email this week. If your child shares a device with a sibling or parent now – then they would need a device from SCA when we go remote. (Chromebook, iPad, laptop)

I’m excited to share the growth with you at conferences next week. Make sure that you sign up for your time slot. (Miss Owens has the sign up in the Charger Check In.) The time slots are only 10 minutes. We will be reviewing data together so that you know what I share with your child in the classroom. I will also be going over remote in January.

Thank you to all the families that embraced National Book Week! Your pictures are all over our classroom. They really have “caught” the reading bug. This will help increase our growth throughout the year. The flashlights I bought are for them to keep, but I ask that they keep them in the zipped pocket of their book bag. We will have Flashlight Friday every month.

Have a blessed week!

Mrs. Bucko

Friday, November 13
- Today marks the end of the first trimester.
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Monday, November 9

  • Read an interesting Pilgrim fact to a family member or read your presidential speech aloud

Tuesday, November 10

  • Caught reading – take a pic of your child reading and send it to Mrs. Bucko’s email:

    Wednesday, November 11
  • Family Reading Night – the whole family stops and reads for 15 minutes – pics welcome

    Thursday, November 12

  • Spread your beach towel outside and read a favorite chapter book

    Friday, November 13

  • Share “Character Bag” with classmates
  • Put on slippers or fuzzy socks and get comfy for “Flashlight Friday”

November 8, 2020

Just a quick note before I go outside to finish all my yard work. This weather has been amazing!

Reminder: We will continue to practice getting on google classroom from home and connecting to zoom. We want to be experts when we have to go remote after Christmas.

In social studies we have been working on campaign slogans and speeches. This week we will turn in a campaign poster with our slogan on it. Students will also turn in a written speech “If I Were Class President”. Students that are interested in helping plan activities throughout the year for our third grade classroom will read their speech in front of the class on Wednesday. I know that they would love to pass out items to go along with their slogan or speech, but we can’t do that this year with Covid safety rules. Everyone that reads a speech will be able to help with some activity during the year. We will have a formal voting ballot. I will meet with the top 4 vote getters, and they will have help planning from students that read a speech in front of the class.  

We will still be gathering facts the next few days for our Pilgrim reports. Small groups will be meeting with me on developing good topic sentences and details. Students that have been able to get to the library have their books in a special place during the day so that they don’t get mixed up with our classroom library.

We will be testing on subtraction this week. I would like to wrap up our chapter by Friday. We will be starting on multiplication for the second trimester.

There will be a spelling test at the end of the week.

Students are doing great on all the second grade skills that I assigned on IXL and Prodigy. I’m glad to see that we are filling in some of those missing pieces in our learning!

Our beautiful altar honoring All Souls will come down on Friday. Thank you for allowing your children to bring in pictures, prayer cards, and other special items. We will continue to pray for all of those and the names that have been added to our prayer box in the classroom.

We wrote pilgrim comics this past week. They are decorating our wall at the moment, but will come home for you to see before the holiday.

This week celebrates National Book Week – November 9 – 15. I am proud to say that just on Epic our class has read over 800 books! That is amazing. I see the excitement for reading building in our classroom. We will have some fun book activities at home and in the classroom this week. There will be more details to follow.

I hope you all have a great week!

Mrs. Bucko

First Thanksgiving Meal - The Food, History & Pilgrims - HISTORY
November 4, 2020

Our next project is starting - Life in Pilgrim Times. We will be learning about what life was like for the Pilgrims. It would be helpful if you could make a trip to the library sometime this next week to check out information to use for gathering data here in school. I do have several books in the classroom.

The report will consist of several short paragraphs with pictures included on each page. Each member of the group will have 1 or 2 duties that they will be responsible for preparing the final product. Each member of the group will still be responsible for adding and gathering information pertaining to all the different subjects, so that everyone is sharing good information.

To get started, just gather interesting facts about the subjects listed below. If there are interesting pictures you could draw to add to your information that would be great!

I want each separate subject to be on a separate page of the report. This gives a lot of room for pictures and such following the paragraph.

Here are the paragraph subjects:

  1. Clothing
  2. Work (what they did to occupy their time during the day)
  3. Religious beliefs/Schooling/Education
  4. Friends (the Indians they met and what they did for them)
  5. Describe the first Thanksgiving

We will be working in class on formulating good paragraphs. I will be looking for a topic sentence and supporting details in each paragraph. Remember: If you can’t say it out loud or have no idea what it means – DON’T PUT IT IN YOUR NOTES. Put interesting facts you find in your own words.

Good luck! You will have until November 10 to gather information. We will be presenting our project the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Mrs. Bucko

day of the dead
November 1, 2020

Happy All Saints Day! I hope that you had an enjoyable Halloween and extra hour of sleep.

This month we will learn about many Catholic men and women who have been named saints. One of our research projects will be on a specific Catholic saint. We will also pray for those who have died. We have set up a beautiful prayer table for All Souls Day which is celebrated on November 2.

We will be in research teams for social studies learning about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. These projects will be presented the week of Thanksgiving – more details to follow.

Subtraction skills are improving! We have had daily practice with larger numbers – no regrouping, one regrouping, and regrouping with zero. We will try to wrap up chapter 3 by the end of the week so that we can start on our multiplication chapter. We will not always be going in order of our math text.

We had fun taking part in reading the play “How the Coyote Stole Fire”. We will come back to acting during the winter months. We will be using the Storyworks magazine for our language arts lessons this week again. (October issue)

Vocabulary Unit 5 test will be at the end of the week. We will be adding a math spelling list to this week’s lessons.

I have added many recommended lessons to IXL. Students will be asked to practice at night for homework.

I enjoyed watching and listening to all the stories of “The Day My Teacher Turned into a Monster”. This was to have fun and practice our creative writing skills. This month we will have higher expectations for the grammar, set up, and punctuation of our writing.

Our days are busy. We couldn’t believe all the new things that we had covered last week. Our class has read over 600 books on epic. We have answered 20,000 math questions on IXL. We continue to grow and stretch our brains. Thank you for supporting that work by checking assignment books, going over work in the red folder, and making sure that your child is reading every night. All these things will make a difference in the success that we see this year in third grade.

Have a great week!

Mrs. Bucko


autumn pumpkin

October 27, 2020

Hello Family!

It has already been 2 months since we started on this journey together. I hope that you have seen the growth that I have. So much will be new this next month. I’m hoping that everyone keeps their positive attitude as we move ahead.

Thank you to so many families who have embraced the month of the rosary. I love all the notes, comments, and stories about celebrating the rosary at home. What a beautiful way to spend time together! We will continue to pray this special prayer at school.

I have asked the students to bring in prayer cards, pictures, or small items of family members or close friends who have passed. We have set up an altar to embrace Dia de los Muertos next week. The altar will be up for 2 weeks in our classroom. The picture can be in a small frame or zip baggy.

Sunday we observe All Saints Day, and Monday we observe All Souls Day. This will be part of our religion focus for the month of November.

This Friday we get to go to church!!!!!! We are so excited that it is finally our turn. Friday is also an early dismissal at 1:00. We will try to squeeze some Halloween fun in there, too.

Have a great week!

Mrs. Bucko

have a good week
October 17, 2020

Hello! There are a few things coming up that we might need reminders for. Regular uniforms are expected starting this Monday, October 19. We have gym class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ms. Owens gave some guidelines in regards to Halloween celebrations. Please read over the charger check in that came out earlier this morning. Friday, October 30 will also be a 1:00 dismissal.

This past week was really busy. We did a lot of reading and researching. We learned about taking notes and forming our ideas into good paragraphs. The students really enjoyed watching their classmates on the big screen presenting their bat research. We added spiders to our research and will be completing a Mystery Science project on Monday.

In social studies we continued discussion on different communities. This coming week we will be learning geography skills. Some of the lessons will be on hemispheres, reading a map key, and following directions using cardinal and intermediate directions.

Each morning we have been working on word building activities. We have had a different boggle board challenge each day. With a competitive mindset we were able to come up with 20 – 40 different words off of one board each day.

In religion we had Unit 1 review most of the week. The information tested came from chapters 1 – 4. They did not have a formal written test for this. I gave them points for the 3 days of review. Students that were absent will complete a written review for homework.

This week we will be praying the rosary in class. Your child can bring a rosary from home. Just make sure that it is in a zipped baggy or special case. We will keep them zipped in our book bags when we are not using them.

Math, math, math… We did so many math problems this week. It was pretty intense in the classroom. Students seem more comfortable with the process of addition and subtraction, but they don’t know their facts with speed and accuracy. In first and second grade students should be comfortable with adding and subtracting within 10 and 20. So, I’m having fast fact Fridays to continue to practice in school. I ask for your help and allow your child to practice facts for speed and accuracy at home when they can. There are many fun and exciting games online to do this. On Fridays we’ve been using arcademic skill builders. The games are only 1 minute.

We had our spelling test yesterday. Our vocabulary Unit 4 test will be this Thursday. Students can go to vocabulary workshop any night to practice with the online games. They also have practice tests that have similar questions to the real test.

Independence, organization and responsibility – these are words I shared with you the very first week. I’ve seen so much improvement on keeping an assignment book, packing materials for homework, turning homework in in the morning, and keeping their desk neat and spaced from others. We keep practicing these things daily. Reminder: I do post homework after school on this web page if your child has written things down too quickly.

I hope you all have a great week!


Mrs. Bucko

Pick a Peck of Pumpkins - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
October 13, 2020

What a beautiful, long weekend! I hope you were able to spend some time outdoors enjoying our magnificent weather. 

Thank you to everyone for getting on powerschool last week and checking in on your child's progress so far this year. 

I'm excited to hear all the amazing reports from third graders this week. Our first presentations will be tomorrow. We will be viewing everyone's Bats! Bats! Bats! presentation on the smartboard. Spoiler alert - they are really awesome! I was so inspired today to watch students forming paragraphs with 7 - 10 sentences. We will be adding a few things to wrap up bats tomorrow and then move on to spiders. (Get the creepy Halloween theme?) 

We have several religion activities that continue to celebrate the rosary. I'm encouraging families to take the time to pray together if you haven't already. 

I will be checking in at the end of the week. I'll share more of the writing projects going on in our classroom. I hope that you have learned some new facts, too.

Mrs. Bucko

autumn leaves fallling
October 4, 2020

Hello! It is definitely no longer summer. With the cooler temperatures, make sure that your child has their gym sweatshirt or St. Catherine fleece. Our classroom is very comfortable, but we do go out for snack daily.

During the month of October there will be a lot of themed learning. We will be exploring several nonfiction texts, researching, and presenting what we’ve learned – in both projects and oral presentations.

The month of October is also a time to place special emphasis on the rosary. We will be learning some new prayers, discussing the mysteries of the rosary, and having prayer experiences together. I encourage families to take some time this month to pray the rosary together as a family.

We have a Mystery Science activity this week that allows us to look closer at our bones and the bones of other mammals. In social studies we will be completing the second half of our community chapter. There will be a test the following week.

We’ll be testing on Unit 3 vocabulary on Wednesday. Students will be asked to go to vocabulary workshop Monday and Tuesday for homework to practice what they know.

Addition and subtraction skills will be practiced this week. We will review rules and strategies so that we can become masters.

Have a great week!

Mrs. Bucko

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September 27, 2020

Hello Third Grade Family,

Now that we have been in school for over a month I hope that everyone is feeling comfortable with the routine. I love that students are neatly filling out assignment books, and parents have been signing them nightly. We have had assessments in all subject areas so students have a better understanding of what to expect. We have covered a lot of material already in this short amount of time.

Our behavior skills we are going to work on this week are patience and following directions in a timely manner. I will be using a behavior modification chart this week so that students have an instant visual when there is something that they can improve upon.

I asked everyone on Friday to have a title and author from a favorite chapter book they have read so far this year. We will be doing a book commercial project this week and presenting to our class via Seesaw. We will be doing some sort of book project about every other week. It is so important that your child is reading 15 minutes every night so that they are prepared for these projects.

We start Unit 3 this week in vocabulary. We are moving ahead in math with review of addition and subtraction of larger numbers. In religion we will be writing different forms of prayer. Social studies will have continued instruction in geography, but it will also include information about different kinds of communities. Mystery Science will present us with a new question and challenge. Our reading comprehension skill will reinforce characterization and sequence.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Mrs. Bucko

September 21, 2020

Happy last official day of summer!

It was so good to see everyone’s smiling face this morning. We are so lucky to have such good health and good attendance.

We’ve been together for a month. I can already see progress academically. The potential for significant growth is there just waiting to sprout.

We have a lot of little quizzes and tests the next two weeks. There will be a math test on Wednesday. The math review for homework this evening will be the same kinds of questions for Wednesday. We will have another vocabulary test this Thursday.

I have asked the students to make sure that they have a chapter book that they are reading. A third grader should be able to finish a short chapter book each week if they keep up with their 15 minutes of reading each night. We will be working on a book report next week. Some students may have to catch up on some extra reading this weekend if they haven’t completed a book in this past month.

In the first three chapters of religion, we have completed chapter reviews both on paper and game form. After we complete chapter 4, we will start taking formal tests.

I sent a book order home this past week. I will be submitting that order this Wednesday, September 23. You can order scholastic books online using our class code: GTRHH. I will be using my bonus points to purchase some new books for our classroom library and a new chapter book set.

Thank you for getting your child to bed at a decent time and making sure that they are ready to grow and stretch their brains! I appreciate all you do to make this year successful!

Mrs. Bucko

September 13, 2020

Hello Third Grade Family!

It is another gorgeous day outside! God is good!

I hope several students came home to share their Friday science challenge. It sure was fun to be able to do something that seemed quite impossible at first. This activity was another demonstration that with a growth mindset we can do amazing things! I took some pictures that I’ll get up this week on our webpage.

We celebrated Mass with Fr. Dennis on Friday. It was nice to pray and sing as a community. There was a beautiful video reflection and prayer that was included in the Mass. Sometimes we just go through the motions when we stand and place our hand on our heart in the morning for the pledge. I’m hoping after Friday’s discussion we think about all the people that help to keep our country safe.

We had our first vocabulary test on Friday. Most of the students did well. I wrote another test for Unit 1 that I will have them do on google classroom on Tuesday. I want to make sure we really understand all the new words. The test that they take online is set up just like the workbook. Now that they have taken one, they will be ready to do their very best for unit 2.

Our first math unit is quite long, so I will be quizzing them on the place value and number sense sections that we’ve completed so far. Many light bulbs went on Friday when we did our math lesson with 5- and 6-digit numbers. This week we will be focusing on rounding numbers.

We completed our first chapter book along with reading several short stories. Reminder: I am expecting that every student is reading independently for 15 minutes each night. Try to put that into your nightly routine.

Our spelling list this week will be vocabulary words for unit 2. It looks like our test will be on Friday this week.

In social studies our focus will be on geography. We have located oceans, continents, and states these past two weeks. We will continue with that, but we will add hemispheres, equator, compass rose, and different kinds of maps.

Tuesday, September 15 is International Dot Day. We will be posting all sorts of activities from that day later in the week.

Our religion focus has been on Sacraments of Initiation. We also read about St. Paul and his drive to spread the Good News – even from prison. We noticed on Friday that the first reading was one of his letters to the Corinthians. In third grade there will be many connections that we notice outside of our textbook.

We started our routine of Fast Fact Friday. We review addition and subtraction facts for speed and accuracy. Students love the fast paced competition. This week we went on arcademic skill builders. It is a free site.

I could keep writing. In third grade we learn so much! You should be proud that your children have been working so hard!

I hope that you have a great week!

Mrs. Bucko

September 7, 2020

Happy Labor Day! I hope that everyone had a chance to spend some time outside this weekend to enjoy the beautiful weather. What a gift!

I was so glad that our class was able to get on the chrome books and try some of the different platforms that I will be using this year. If students take their ring of codes home please help me out by making them walk it right back into their back pack after they enter the information into the computer. I will be using google classroom for a few assignments this week so that they practice checking their mail and logging in. I have some assignments with links that we’ll practice this week. Thank you for everyone allowing their child time to use Seesaw. They did great on our first two assignments.

Because of our shorter week, our vocabulary unit one test will be on Friday. I want to give extra time for review. I will be giving a spelling pretest tomorrow on number words. I’m finding that students don’t know how to spell words for number of the day. I will do this twice this month.

I’m checking in with all students to make sure that they have something that they are spending time reading 15 minutes each night. It will not be written as daily homework, but it will be expected daily.

I will be updating again later in the week. Thank you for all your support.

Mrs. Bucko

August 28, 2020

Dear Parents,

WE MADE IT!   We survived the first week of school after over 5 months of being out of the classroom.  It has been a transition for everyone, but I thought the third grade did a great job getting back on track. I’ve been so proud of the line up in the morning for check in, movement in our building, dismissal, and keeping masks on. (Not to mention getting used to me)

I will be starting our normal routine, behavior plan and schedule on Monday. I want them to get used to the structure. 

We didn’t get as far as I would have liked with google classroom. Miss Soch will be teaching computer class on Monday morning and making sure that we are good to go. I plan on doing some simple exercises during the week so that we get used to using the program. 

I hope that you got to view the Back to School Night video. I know it was longer than others, but I felt you needed to know more about me and my teaching - this being my first year here. 

I need to have everyone’s email address. I sent a practice email for you to respond to.  I need them in case I need to start sending out group information for the whole class. 

This week we started talking about stretching our brains and having a growth mindset. I will be referring to this frequently. I feel very strongly about challenging ourselves to be the very best. Mistakes help us grow. We have some work to make up from being out of the classroom. I want to make sure we get to where we should be. 

Thank you for sharing your child with me! 

Mrs. Buckoback to school


August 19, 2020
Hello. My name is Patricia Bucko. I am so excited to start a new adventure at St. Catherine this year in third grade. I am originally from Stillwater, Minnesota. I moved to Illinois to marry my husband, Jon, of 28 years. We have three incredible children. All five of us are at home together at the moment. My boys are in college, and I have a daughter that will start at McAuley this fall. I come to you from St. Walter. They have been an amazing family to me for the past 29 years. Twenty-eight of my thirty years teaching has been in third grade. I love my job! Teaching is my passion.  I try to create a classroom space where students love to learn and strive to grow to their true potential. My classroom has always been faith based. I hope to create this same learning environment at St. Catherine. I look forward to meeting you soon!
Mrs. Patricia Bucko

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