Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Can you believe your child is halfway through fifth grade?!?

Curriculum Updates …

Math: We finally completed the multiplication and division unit. We will continue to practice the algorithms throughout the rest of the year. Math lessons are now focusing on estimating fractions, finding equivalent fractions and renaming fractions as mixed numbers.  We have just finished our first round of Fizz and Martina. This is a program that requires students to work together to solve problems and then explain how they solved them without using numbers. They are learning how to use number models to help them explain how they solved problems.

Science: We also finished our magnets and motors unit. The final activity had students take apart mini motors, think about how they work, and put them back together correctly so they worked again! You will see all of their work from this unit on the next “Purple Folder Night”.  We have started a mini unit on Environments. Students are observing, creating investigations, and using their data about darkling beetles and isopods to create terrariums with the preferred environments of each organism.

Social Studies:  We will begin our Exploration Unit next week! Students will be learning about early exploration. They will participate in several activities that help them answer the following questions:
What were the key events that led to the Age of Exploration?
What were the effects of interactions between Native Americans and Europeans?
What lasting consequences did the Age of Exploration have on the world?
What technological developments/improvements made the age of exploration possible?

Language Arts:  We are continuing to work on our persuasive essays.  We have drafted 4 out of the 5 or 6 paragraphs.  We learned how to use Google Forms to create a survey to get data from classmates about our essay topic.  We’ll incorporate these statistics into our essays to help make our claim stronger.   We will also learn about a counterclaim.  Coming up we will be starting our explorer unit in the library.  European explorers changed the world is our focus statement.  Students will come up with questions about this statement and do a photo gallery walk to study pictures about the age of exploration.  Students will research an explorer to discover what they were looking for, where they went, why they explored and what they actually found.

Reading: Character traits is our current focus.  We learn a lot about characters from what they say and their actions.  Based on those we can infer what traits describes them best.  I looked at all the Reader’s Notebooks to check in on reading goals.  Most everyone appears to be right on track.  Yay!

Conversation starters ...

  • Fractions 
  • Fizz and Martina-how to explain how you solved a problem without using any numbers 
  • Number model
  • Counterpoint
  • Surveys
  • Thesis
  • Hand washing!
  • Scat  Will they be able to return the baby panther to its mother in time?
  • Word of the week: fabricate
  • Pencils- Do they have enough at school to be prepared for class? Many do not!


A look ahead …..
Field trip to Bay Square Assisted Living Center:  February 8
February break:  Week of Feb. 18.  Get out and enjoy the snow!


Thursday, November 15, 2018

November News!

Curriculum Updates …


Math: In Unit 2 we have been exploring patterns in the base-10 place-value system and different ways to represent large numbers. The students will be introduced to the traditional algorithm for multiplication. Some will love it right away and others will need a bit more convincing, but all will come to understand that it is a more efficient algorithm to use when doing multi-digit multiplication. Students are really getting into the challenges that supplement the math packet!  More and more are choosing puzzles that push their thinking and require perseverance. Yay!


Science:
Students have been making the connection between magnetism and electricity. They have created circuits that lit a light bulb and used electricity to make an electromagnet! After making the electromagnet they designed a fair test to change a variable from the original test to see what difference it would make in the strength of the electromagnet. Working with group members they are running those investigations and presenting their results to the class. The questions they have been asking has shown how curious they are about our science topics!

Language Arts:  We are wrapping up our personal narrative unit.  Students wrote a practice narrative that we used for our mini-lessons.  Those lessons included: leads, paragraphing, dialogue (using it to move the story forward and to learn something about a character, as well as, how to punctuate it), vivid verbs, reflective endings, and general editing for mechanics and grammar.

Before the Thanksgiving break students will independently write a second narrative that will be scored.  Students should bring in a picture of themselves doing a favorite activity.  These pictures will be used to create a “Figuratively Speaking” poster.  This poster will showcase all they’ve learned about figurative language.

Just before the winter break we will begin brainstorming  topics for our persuasive essay unit.

Reading:  Students are continuing to work on their reading goals and practice their stamina.  They should be almost a third of the way toward their goal.  I’ve seen lots of growth on their stamina.  Inferencing will be our next focus.  They will learn the word, schema, and that they all have one!  We’ll talk about how all our schemas are different and we put that together with what the text says to make an inference.  We will use pictures and picture books to practice our inferencing skills.


Conversation starters ...

Math facts -is superspeed making a difference?
Attending to precision - checking work
PEMDAS -order of operations
Formulas for finding volume
Expanded form - three different ways to show it
Why can’t you trust an atom? (joke)
Conductors and insulators
Fair test
Current Events - What have you read about lately?
Hyperbole, onomatopoeia
Stamina
Sarah Hale -- Thank you, Sarah!
When do you begin a new paragraph?
Scat  Did Smoke try to get revenge on Mrs. Starch at the Black Vine Swamp?
To make writing the best it can be this year, I will ….
Pencils, pencils, pencils


A look ahead….

MAP testing will be the first week of December.



Thursday, October 11, 2018

Falling into the groove!

Curriculum Updates …


Math: Unit 1 focuses on finding area of rectangles with fractional side lengths, volume concepts, and solving equations using the order of operations. Through collaboration with others and independent work they are learning to model with mathematics, construct viable arguments, and critique the reasoning of others. They are learning to support a classmate’s thinking using a different way to prove they are correct or being skeptics by asking questions of their peers when they don’t agree with something.

Many students are still needing to practice their basic facts...any help you can give with that would be awesome!  There are practice links in their Google Classroom as well as games we have played in class they can bring home and play with you. Increasing their fact fluency will help so much with accuracy and confidence.

Science:  Students are thinking and acting like scientists. We are answering lots of questions about magnets through our investigations. What makes something magnetic? Does magnetic strength increase with more magnets? How do compasses work? How can magnets create motion?  We will build on these concepts to connect magnetism and electricity. Lots of hands on learning and science thinking happening!

Language Arts:  We began the year learning how to write a paragraph.  Their paragraphs include a topic sentence, three supporting details, along with an explanation of each detail (which is a new concept this year), and end with a concluding sentence.  We are now on to personal narrative writing.  They have been busy generating ideas by thinking about people that are important to them and listing small moments in time, as well as, their firsts, lasts, and times they realized or learned something.  Over the next few weeks we will learn about leads, characters, transitions, paragraphing and much more!

Reading:  We finished our first read aloud, Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days.  The theme of the book is being perfect would be just plain boring!  We are currently reading, Animal House and Iz.  This book is about a blended family whose children desperately want a dog and the lengths they go to to convince their parents.

Aside from read aloud, students have set reading goals and are practicing their reading stamina with self-selected books.  They will be reading at least one book from ten genres.  I’m hopeful they will find a new genre that they love!

Figurative Language is our current focus.  They have learned about personification, similes, and metaphors so far.  When they are reading they are detectives looking for examples from their text.  We have also enjoyed a few poems as examples of how to write descriptively.


Conversation starters ...


  • Math facts - practice and play 
  • Attending to precision - checking work
  • Quality producer
  • PEMDAS -order of operations
  • Difference between perimeter, area, and volume
  • How and why do compasses work
  • What makes something magnetic
  • Current Events - What have you read about lately?
  • Personification, simile, metaphor
  • Stamina
  • When you’re done …. You’ve just begun!
  • Animal House and Iz  What crazy pets have Iz and her brothers collected?
  • To make writing the best it can be this year, I will ….
  • Pencils-Do they have enough at school to be prepared for class? 

A look ahead and other important information….

Collecting supplies for Yarmouth Food Pantry - we will walk there next week with our 8th Grade Buddies and start stocking those shelves!  Donations appreciated.

Homework Club is only on Wednesdays until the week of October 29 and then it will be held on both Mondays and Wednesdays.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


The first week flew by with a flurry of activities to get to know the school, the schedule and each other!  Scavenger hunt with 8th grade buddies, SignoPersonality Bingo, paper bag activity and Me by the Numbers were activities that really helped with the transition to HMS and our new classrooms.
Week two began with computer roll out!  The computers are smaller and faster this year. So awesome! Fifth graders have a computer in each of their classrooms which makes for smoother and quicker transitions.

Conversation starters for this week …
  • HMS Library
  • stamina
  • mistakes
  • Everyone can do high level math 
  • Area and perimeter (Ask about Mrs. Comfort’s dilemma)
  • Brain – can stretch, amygdala, cerebrum, cerebellum, prefrontal cortex (sorry, they might blame a few things on this)
  • Life Role Outcomes – Quality Producer, Collaborative Worker, Responsible and Involved Citizen, Self -directed Learner
  • Be a Perfect Person In Just Three Days
Weekly Homework:
  • Reading 20 minutes minimum nightly
  • Math 20 minutes minimum nightly – 5 minutes of multiplication facts practice and 15 minutes or more on the puzzle packet.  More challenges available if needed!