Friday, December 22, 2017

Curled-Paper Snowflakes

This video shows how to make nifty curled-paper snowflakes. They will soon be making the third grade a winter wonderland!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hour of Code

This December, third graders are participating in the "Hour of Code," hosted by, and supported by President Obama, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg,, Malala, and many, many more tech-savvy celebrities, school districts, companies, and teachers.

Click here to watch a short video about the Hour of Code.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Upcoming Programs at the Bellingham Public Library

There are a couple of cool programs coming up at the Bellingham Public Library, for all those third grade engineers out there! Click here for all the deets.

Builders' Club: 11/28, 12/2, 12/16
Join other builders to play and create with Legos, Duplos, straw connectors, blocks, and more!

Cubelets (pre-registration required): 12/18, 12/28
This is a kit provided by the Washington State Library. Magnets connect the cubes, and when they are snapped together, they can make a sound, light, or motion.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Chinese Cultural Celebration

This Saturday, October 28th, all are invited to attend the Confucius Institute's Chinese Cultural Celebration here at Happy Valley! The Confucius Classroom Program supports our school's opportunity to host a guest teacher from our sister school in China each year. The program is designed to build bridges between Chinese and American cultures, and support innovative teaching and learning of the Chinese language.

2017 Confucius Institute Day

Date: Saturday, October 28th, 2017
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM
Location: Happy Valley Elementary School (1041 24th St., Bellingham, WA 98225)
Free admission
Please join us to celebrate the 2017 Confucius Institute Day! This year’s event showcases Chinese culture with performances from musicians, martial artists, dancers, as well as a painting demonstration by a traditional Chinese painter.
This event is free and open to the public. Families are welcome!
This event is sponsored by the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Just Right Books

In the 3rd grade, students are becoming proficient readers, who can read for entertainment, learning, enjoyment, and more.

Part of becoming a good reader is reading books at your "just right" level most of the time--books that are not too easy and not too hard.

Good readers read all levels of books, but they usually try to read just right books. If we read easy books all of the time, we won't learn how to read more difficult text. If we read challenging books all of the time, we get too discouraged and don't enjoy reading. Most of the time, we try to choose just right books.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Strategies for Learning Addition Combinations

An excellent way you can help your student become a successful mathematician is by practicing math facts. Third graders should know their addition and subtraction facts 0-20 fluently, so that the transition to higher-level math is easier. Students can learn math facts in a variety of ways: using flash cards, filling in blank addition/subtraction charts, or using an online facts practice program. You can buy fact cards at the Dollar Store, Launching Success, or you can make your own using notecards. About 5 minutes of facts practice each night is adequate for most students this age.

If your child is fluent in addition and subtraction facts, feel free to start working on multiplication and division facts at home!

Strategies for Learning Addition Combinations

Add Zero Facts--like 6 + 0 and 0 + 4. Students learn the rule that when you add zero to any number, the number remains the same.

Count On Facts—3 + 4, 4 + 5, 5 + 6, 6 + 7, 7 + 8, 8 + 9, and 9 + 10. These are one or two more than the doubles. Students can use the doubles they know to learn these. “I know 5 + 5 is 10, so 5 + 6 is 1 more which is 11.”

Doubles—like 3 + 3 and 10 + 10. Students learn most of the doubles readily and can use the doubles they know to help with the harder doubles. “I know that 6 + 6 is 12, so 7 + 7 is 2 more, that’s 14.”

Doubles Plus or Minus One--like 4 + 3 and 5 + 6. Once students know their Doubles, this strategy is a breeze--it's just doubles and one more or one less.

Make Ten Facts—1 + 9, 2 + 8, 3 + 7, 4 + 6, 5 + 5, 6 + 4, 7 + 3, 8 + 2, and 9 + 1. Students need many experiences building all the ways there are to make 10 with manipulatives (tools they can hold) until they recognize these combinations.

Add Ten Facts--10 + 6 and 10 + 10. Because these combinations follow a structural pattern, students learn them readily once they have built them repeatedly with cubes or counted them out on the 100 chart.

Add Nine Facts – like 9 + 5 and 9 + 10. Students can think of these combinations this way: To solve 9 + 5, take one from the 5 and add it to the 9 to make 10. The 4 that are left are added to the 10; 10 + 4 = 14. Or, if we used 10 + 5 the answer would be 15, but because we added 1 extra when we take it away we get the answer 14.

Addition Fact Cards idea: Students work on addition combinations they are trying to learn better. They write a clue or strategy for each one. If the student does not have the combinations for 10 at recall there are games that can be requested that will help this

4 + 3 =
3 + 4 =
Clue: I know 3 + 3 = 6, so 4 + 3 is one more which is 7.

5 + 3 =
3 + 5 =
Clue: I know 5 + 5 = 10. Three is 2 less than 5 so 10 – 2 = 8

6 + 3 =
3 + 6 =
Clue: I know 6 + 4 = 10. Three is one less than 4 so, 6 + 3 =9

8 + 3 =
3 + 8 =
Clue: I know that 8 needs 2 more to make 10 so I make the 3 into a 1, 10 + 1 = 11

7 + 3 =
3 + 7 =
Clue: I know my 10 combinations

9 + 3 =
3 + 9 =
Clue: I take one from the 3 and make 9 into a 10. 10 + 2 = 12

Monday, October 16, 2017

Typing Agent

Fluency with keyboarding is an important skill for third graders. Our keyboarding program, Typing Agent, allows students to practice keyboarding at school and at home. This is a great thing to practice in the evening, along with math facts and reading. Your student's teacher can send a unique login and password to use at home if you're interested.
Why do we teach typing? Because within a student's school career, they must be able to:
  • Complete work in a timely manner
  • Take online tests and digitial quizzes
  • Complete collaborative online classwork
  • Communicate with friends and teachers virtually
  • Conduct online research
The Common Core State Standard for keyboarding in Grade 3 states that "with guidance and support from adults, third graders will use technology to produce and publish writing by using keyboarding skills, as well as to interact and collaborate with others."
Here is a tutorial explaining how the program works. Happy typing!

Common Threads Farm Annual Harvest Dinner

Friday, September 22, 2017

Volunteering at School

Dear Families and Community members,

Volunteers are an integral part of student success in our schools. Parents, guardians, family members, grandparents and community members alike are part of The Bellingham Promise and committed to providing a variety of tasks, skills and time to support student growth and development. And we are grateful.

We have heard from some of you the annual paper volunteer application is arduous and time consuming. With this in mind, we are proud to announce a new development that will make your volunteer job easier. Beginning today, the volunteer application will be accessible in an online format for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. This new online format is a one-time web-based application that requires a renewal every two years per the Washington State Patrol check (WATCH). We encourage you to complete the application now so we can make any necessary adjustments to provide for a smooth transition for the start of the school year. You can find the application here

In addition, there are now computers available in the lobby at the district office at 1306 Dupont Street for those who would like assistance or do not have computer access.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the new online system, please contact

Thank you for your continued time and support of Bellingham Public Schools.

The Power of "Yet"

Third graders have been learning about having a growth mindset--knowing that learning is a challenge, and that you can learn and get better at things through dedication and hard work.

A staff member at Lowell Elementary, Mr. Peterson, wrote this cool rap to help kids learn about the power of a growth mindset. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

M.A.P. Assessments

The MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessment is given 2-3 times a year in grades three through five. The computer-based assessment is what's known as a "dynamic assessment," meaning that the test changes as the student progresses through the questions--if they get a problem correct, they are given a more challenging problem; if they get a problem incorrect, the next problem is easier. The final overall score (known as the RIT score) is an estimate of a student's achievement level. 

The assessments provide teachers with timely, data-driven, and relevant information that will inform our instruction in the classroom. We also use the MAP assessments to monitor students' progress in Math. 

For more information on the MAP, you can view and/or print the MAP Parent Toolkit.

Fall Standard Score
Math: 195

Winter Standard Score
Math: 201

Spring Standard Score
Math: 206

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fun Run!

It's that time of year again...our annual school fundraiser, the Fun Run, is happening soon!

Your child's collection envelope for pledges was sent home earlier this week. This is Happy Valley's only fundraising event, so thank you in advance for working on getting those pledges!

FUN RUN: Friday, September 29th on the Happy Valley Track

Thursday, October 19th

  • Ice Cream Social
  • Last day to turn in envelopes
  • Bracelets are given to all students who turn in their envelope on time

Classes who turn in 100% of their envelopes by Thursday, October 19th will receive a PIZZA PARTY! Please remind your student to turn in their envelope by this date even if they don’t have any donations. 

One class from upstairs and one class from downstairs will earn a $100 spending spree, by being the class to turn in the most donations.

Also, new this year we are accepting Fun Run donations online. Please feel free to share this link with any friends or family who may want to donate to the Happy Valley PTA Fun Run fundraiser in support of our students, teachers, and the entire Happy Valley Elementary School community.

Thank you so much for your help with all of this, and for everything you do for our children!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Scholastic Book Clubs

A note from Ms. Vodopich...

Are you interested in finding "just right" books for your child, while supporting our classroom library at the same time? If so, please check out the Scholastic Book Club! We earn points to spend in the bookstore, as well as free books, for every order placed.

To order, you will need to create an account with Scholastic. or click HERE

You can search for our class by zipcode, or by entering our class code:


Orders will be placed on the due date; books will arrive at school a week or so later and given to your child. Thank you for your support!

Happy Valley Spirit Wear

Did you know that every Friday is Spirit Day at Happy Valley? The new order is being placed soon, so get your HV hoodies, beanies, baseball t's, and more! All proceeds will go right back to the school, so this is a fantastic way to support Happy Valley kids.

Deadline to order is Friday, Sept. 22nd.

Click here to order online!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Penny Drive to Help Hurricane Victims

Even the smallest citizens can come together to make a difference during times of need! 

Happy Valley is holding a school-wide Penny Drive to help raise money for the American Red Cross in aiding victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, from now until Monday, September 25th.

Each classroom has a penny jar, and there's a big jar in the main office. If your kiddos are wanting to help our fellow citizens during this difficult time, this is a great way for them to participate and make a difference.

Back-to-School Night

Please join us to tour the school, see your kiddo's classroom, go on a scavenger hunt, and admire all of the 3rd graders' hard work so far this year.

We will be meeting in the Courtyard at 7:00 pm for a very special recital--it's not to be missed!

What: Back-to-School Night
Date: Thursday, September 14th
Time: 6:45pm - 7:15pm

Monday, August 28, 2017

All Families are Welcome at our School!

As we enter the new school year, we feel that it is very important to let you know that

ALL students and families are welcome at our school. 

The Happy Valley Way teaches students to be kind, be safe, be respectful, and be responsible, and part of that is making sure that everyone feels welcome at our school.

A word from the Bellingham School District, via Policy 3210, Non-Discrimination...

Bellingham Public Schools will provide equal educational opportunity and treatment for all students in all aspects of the academic and activities program without discrimination based on race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, honorably-discharged veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.  The district will provide equal access to school facilities to the Boy Scouts of America and all other designated youth groups listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society.  District programs will be free from sexual harassment. Auxiliary aids and services will be provided to individuals with disabilities when needed for effective communication.

Friday, August 25, 2017


We believe the best way to support your child at home is by spending quality time together.  Rather than sending traditional homework home this year, we are setting expectations that your child will read, move, and play each night.  We hope that by eliminating traditional pencil and paper tasks, we will provide your family with more time to foster strong relationships, independence, responsibility, and fun.

One consistent aspect of your home routine each evening should be reading.  This could look like your child reading independently for about 20 minutes, or reading a favorite book aloud to your child.

In addition to reading, we encourage you to develop a routine for your child to help with household chores and find ways to contribute to their family and community.  This develops responsibility, respect, and a strong work ethic. 

We are spending lots of time learning about perseverance this year: what it means to be a learner, struggle through tricky problems, and stick with things that are challenging. We invite you to work on math facts nightly, which can be a  great opportunity to help your child develop these traits. Third graders are expected to know multiplication and division facts 0-12 fluently (with speed and accuracy) by the end of the year. Just about five minutes a night is perfect for practicing math facts. Flash cards are quick and easy to use!

Your student was sent home recently with a list of activities, adventures, and chores to encourage your child to move, contribute, and play at home.

Thank you very much for your support!

For more information on educational research regarding homework, you might want to read one of these articles:

NPR: "Here and Now" radio show (; Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Brosco)
"The Homework Debate" ( Magazine)
"As Homework Grows, So Do Arguments Against It" (Washington Post)
"Homework: New Study Suggests it May be an Uneccesary Evil" (Huffington Post; written by acclaimed education researcher Alfie Kohn)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Our new school!

This is our second year in our new building, and it just keeps getting better! Be on the lookout for the groovy "Happy Valley Way" signage in hallways and in the library, and a student-made guided tour of the building's mechanics, using QR codes. We are also using the amazing electronic monitors at the end of each hallway to show off student work, share inspirational quotes, and keep everyone in the loop regarding school events.

History of the new building...

The Education Specification Committee, consisting of Happy Valley principal and staff, parents, community members, and district specialists met monthly for a year and a half with NAC architects to plan for the new Happy Valley Elementary. Students wrote books giving input in the design and features they wanted to see incorporated into the new school. 

Our ground-breaking ceremony was held in June of 2015. The building took just over one year to build and was just completed. Students attended the old school which was built in 1956 while the new school was constructed on the play field. A chain link fence just on the other side of the big toy allowed students and staff to watch the construction.

All students and staff signed one of the main beams and then watched it being hosted into place. Risers sat up near the fence provided a viewing area for students to watch the progress throughout the 2015-16 school year. Classes made cookies for the crew, made thank you cards and fifth graders created a large banner signed by Happy Valley Students to show their appreciation for the hard work of the construction crew.

Key concepts for our new building

·         -Flexible space ensures our building will provide for teaching and learning into the future
·        - Shared spaced for each grade level allows opportunities for collaboration for students and staff
·         -Windows into the hall, classrooms, and spaced provide visible teaching and natural light
·         -Use of color to reflect our environment and promote bringing outdoors in and the indoors out

Building as a Teacher

·         -Window on the second floor across from the library into the mechanical room
·         -Cutout in the ceiling in the main hall
·         -Valve doors that open to see shut offs for water
·         -Fractions and angles included in halls and stairway
·        - Fish tank observation/viewing area
·         -Signage reflects local geographical features
·         -School garden with seating area for instruction
·         -Outdoor natural seating area with logs
·         -Nature trail from front to back of the building
·        - Native species chosen for landscaping and can be used for teaching

Click here to view the construction photo album.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Welcome Back to School!

Can you believe it's time to head back to school already? We are excited to be your student's 3rd grade teachers this year, and we look forward to getting to know your family better as our year progresses.

A little about us...

Mrs. Roselli: This is my 17th year teaching and I feel so lucky to be able to work and live in such an amazing city. I am originally from Vancouver, WA and studied Child Development and Elementary Education at WWU. I loved my college experience in Bellingham so much that I decided this was the place that I would like to live and work. I have been married for 12 years and have two beautiful little girls, Lexi (age 11) and Alyssa (age 8). When I am not at school I enjoy running, biking, playing with my girls, reading and sipping a good cup of coffee. I love teaching and am excited for a wonderful new school year! 

Ms. Vodopich: This is my 11th year teaching for the Bellingham School District. I was born and raised here in Bellingham; in fact, I attended Happy Valley Elementary from kindergarten through 5th grade! Before becoming a teacher, I worked primarily in environmental and science education. I received my B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington and my teaching degree from Western Washington University. When I am not at school, I enjoy reading, hiking, watching movies, doing art projects, baking, and having dance parties with Mrs. R and Ms. M-O.

Ms. Moss-Owen: This is my 15th year teaching. I graduated from WWU in 1991 with a degree in Political Science. I then worked in Social Work, Corporate Sales, and Early Childhood Education before heading back to Western for my Teaching Certificate. I am thrilled to now be in my most favorite profession! I love being a teacher!  I have four amazing children: 25-year-old twin sons and two daughters, ages 21 and 10. When I’m not working, I love family adventures, eating at my husband’s restaurant, reading, running and being silly with Mrs. R and Ms.V.  It’s going to be a great year!

This blog will keep you up-to-date with current events in the 3rd grade classrooms and in our community. There are lots of fun links for your student to use at home and during free time at school; we encourage you to explore the links together. We always like getting your feedback, so feel free to post comments! Be sure and check out the live feed for Washington State education news through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).