Monday, January 28, 2019

5-2 Updates ~ 01/28/19

Hello 5-2 Parents ~

Happy Snow Day!!  

It looks like Mother Nature has taken control of our school schedule for the week!  The good news is I will see your kiddos tomorrow, but the rest of the week will probably be cut short by the predicted cold temperatures. While we will be in school tomorrow, we'll probably be staying indoors for recess since the temperatures are predicted to be below zero. 

Since we're talking about winter weather, this is a good time to remind you of our school policy about recess in the winter. If the temperatures are above zero, we will be going outside. Students should have boots that can be worn outside - we've had many students requesting to stay inside because their boots are not waterproof and they did not want them to be ruined. If your child wears these boots to school, please be sure they have waterproof boots to change into for recess.  Unfortunately, we do not have staff available to offer indoor recess options unless all students are indoors. Your child also needs a hat and gloves to go outside on those cold days. I know it can be more challenging to encourage your pre-teen to dress appropriately for the cold weather, but please send them with the appropriate outerwear.  If they do not have gloves, we will send them to our lost and found to find a pair to wear before allowing them outside. Thank you for helping us to keep your child safe and warm!

Important Dates
Global School Play Day ~ Wednesday, February 6th ~ Please send in games or toys with your child for a day of unstructured play!  NO ELECTRONICS, PLEASE!  We are specifically looking for math games during our math block, but the rest of the day is unstructured! For more information on this national movement, please click on this link: https://www.globalschoolplayday.com/

Erin's Law ~ Wednesday, February 13th ~ A presentation about personal body safety is scheduled from 9:10-9:40am, and will be made by our Social Worker, Mrs. Mary Moore. 

Valentine's Day Party ~ Thursday, February 14th ~ 2:15-3:15pm
Due to severe and life threatening allergies, we are asking that you DO NOT INCLUDE ANY FOOD OR CANDY ITEMS with your child's individual Valentines. There are many clever and creative alternatives to food items, including pencils, tattoos, stickers, & bubbles... but the nicest way to say "Happy Valentine's Day" is to write a nice note! 

President's Day ~ Monday, February 18th ~ No School



Math
Your children took the Chapter 5 Assessment on Friday, and the Owl Scorecards were sent home with them this weekend for them to review with you. Please be sure to sign and return these to me tomorrow!

We will begin chapter 6 - Area tomorrow. This is another quick unit - only 3 lessons long, so we will be taking the assessment by the end of next week.

Social Studies
We wrapped up our Social Studies unit on Friday with the Chapter 15 Assessment. The Owl Scorecards for these also went home on Friday - please be sure to sign and return tomorrow!

Science
We will begin our new science unit tomorrow - Investigating Matter.  In this unit, students will:
~ Define matter and identify many of its common properties.
~ Become familiar with the common states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.
~ Plan and conduct an investigation to prove that air has weight.
~ Conduct investigations on the physical properties of matter.
~ Show that the weight of matter doesn't change when heated or cooled.
~ Discover the differences between physical and chemical changes
~ Plan and conduct experiments to show weight of matter stays the same when changed.
~ Discover how unusual mixtures have properties unlike other materials.


Reading
We have been learning about text structures and text features found in different types of nonfiction text.  Your child also chose a biography to read for their upcoming Bio Bottle projects.  The biography should be completed by tomorrow.  Please check in with your child to be sure they are on target. Information about the Bio Bottles will come home tomorrow - just a heads up, your child will need a 2 liter bottle and a styrofoam ball.

Writing
We've continued our work in the Response to Fiction unit over the past few weeks. Students are enjoying the engaging story, The Liberation of Gabriel King. It's prompting some excellent discussion about conquering fears and dealing with bullying. They continue to learn how to focus on using the text as evidence to support and explain their claims about character traits in a well-written response to fiction essay.  

"You will never have this day with your children again.  Tomorrow they will be a little bigger than they are today.  This day is a gift.  Breathe and notice.  Smell and touch them; study their faces and pay attention.  Relish the charms of the present.  
Enjoy today.  It will be gone before you know it."
― Jen Hatmaker

Cheers ~
Theresa Fowler



Saturday, January 12, 2019

5-2 Updates ~ 01/12/19

Hello 5-2 Parents ~

I hope you all enjoyed some relaxing time with your families over Winter Break!!  I was so happy to see all the smiling faces and exciting chatter as your children entered the classroom on Tuesday - it's always so much fun to hear their stories of all they did on break :)  

The new year brings some new expectations for your student as they are in the final stretches of their 5th grade year!  I will no longer be stamping their assignment notebook every afternoon - students are now expected to check the assignment board every afternoon, and copy down the assignments due independently.   Of course, I will be reminding them of their assignments and responsibilities at the end of every day, but I will no longer check in with each individual student.  They are also expected to turn in assigned homework in the morning of its due date - this includes re-do assignments. While they will still be receiving reminders to turn the assignments in, I will not check in with them individually to turn their work in. If the work is not turned in at the expected time, it will be marked late. We are working to transition them to more independence and ownership of their learning as they begin to prepare for middle school. Encourage them to maintain organization and listen for those reminders!  As always, if you see your child struggling with this transition, please let me know.



Important Dates
Robert Crown ~ Michael/Linda Talk:  Friday, January 18th - 1:15pm
The Linda program provides a unique “girls-only” format for puberty education. It compares female and male reproductive anatomy and introduces the physiological changes that occur during adolescence. Educators address secondary physical changes such as breast development, increased production of sweat and oil, acne, increased body fat, and the growth of body hair, as well as the menstrual cycle.
Program Goals:
Students will…
  1. Increase their knowledge of human anatomy
  2. Understand that changes are a normal part of human development
  3. Increase their comfort in discussing and caring for their changing bodies
The Michael Program provides a unique “boys-only” format for puberty education. It compares female and male reproductive anatomy and introduces the physiological changes that occur during adolescence. Educators address secondary physical changes such as voice change, increased production of sweat and oil, acne, and the growth of body hair, as well nocturnal emissions and spontaneous erections.
Program Goals:
Students will…
  1. Increase their knowledge of human anatomy
  2. Understand that changes are a normal part of human development
  3. Increase their comfort in discussing and caring for their changing bodies

No School ~ Monday, January 21st - MLK Day

Monday Schedule ~ Tuesday, January 22nd ~ We will have Art instead of PE/Music


Math
Your children took the Chapter 4 Assessment (Multiplying & Dividing Fractions) before Winter Break - those tests are scored and should be going home for a sign and return at some point this upcoming week.  I have been working with students who did not master all of the concepts on that assessment, and giving them an additional opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the standards. At the same time, we have been working on reviewing all of the concepts covered in chapters 1-4 to keep those skills fresh in our minds.

Next week, we will begin Chapter 5 - Algebra.  This is a quick 3-lesson unit, so your children will be testing the following week.

Social Studies
Now that the Revolutionary War is won, we are a free nation...and with that comes the responsibility and struggle of organizing a government. As your children learned this week, there were some significant problems with the Articles of Confederation that resulted in Shays' Rebellion - ask them if they can tell you the strengths and weaknesses! We performed a reader's theater on Shays' Rebellion and completed a project about this important event in our history. Those scorecards should go home at some point this week.  

We moved on to learn about the Constitutional Convention and students learned of the challenges our forefathers faced as they argued the best form of government for our new nation.  Then we dove into the 3 branches of government - ask your child if they can name the 3 branches, the members and main responsibilities of each branch, as well as several key responsibilities.  On Monday, we will begin work on the Branches of Government project to review these concepts.  These projects will be due on Wednesday, when we will play a Power Card game to help us review for the test.  The Chapter 14 Assessment is scheduled for Thursday, January 17th - I will upload the key for the Chapter 14 Organizer to Google Classroom after we review it on Monday to help students prepare for the assessment.

Reading
We wrapped up our Fiction Unit before break with the Summative Assessment. Just as in math, I have been working with students who did not master all of the concepts on that assessment, and giving them an additional opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the standards. Those scorecards will go home to be signed and returned at some point this week, and then we will begin our Nonfiction Reading Unit.

Writing
We also began our new writing unit Writing in Response to Fiction this weekDuring this unit, students will gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between reading and writing and will learn essential reading and writing strategies that they will need in order to respond to fiction throughout their educational careers. The students will be reading the book, The Liberation of Gabriel King, by K.L Going.

The Liberation of Gabriel King is a well written and highly engaging historical fiction novel about a friendship between two fifth grade students, Gabriel King, a Caucasian boy, and his friend Frita, an African-American girl. The setting of the story is rural Georgia in 1976, the year of the bicentennial, and Jimmy Carter is President. The author writes about racial prejudice and the presence of the Ku Klux Klan. Frita’s goal is to liberate Gabe from his fears. Together they list their fears and pledge to conquer them one by one during the summer between fourth and fifth grade. 


As always ~ should you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me!


“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”         

Cheers ~
Theresa Fowler




Sunday, December 9, 2018

5-2 Updates ~ 12/8/18

Hello 5-2 Parents ~


We had another busy week in 5-2 today! I hope you all found some time to relax together as a family this weekend.



Important Dates
Class T-shirt Form ~ due Monday, 12/10 ~ The 5th Grade Committee sent home order forms for your child's class t-shirt this week. They are all so excited to receive their t-shirts!! These forms are due on Monday - there is no cost for the first t-shirt, they just need to know your child's size and how you would like their name to appear on the 5th grade memorabilia. If you would like to receive an additional t-shirt, the cost is $6. Please let me know if you child misplaced their order form, and I'll send home another.  They'll receive their t-shirt the day we take our 5th grade class photo, currently scheduled for 1/25. Students are asked to wear their class t-shirts on our 5th grade field trip to Camp Edwards and at the 5th grade breakfast.

MAP testing
Monday, 12/10 ~ 1:15-2:15 ~ Reading 
Tuesday, 12/11 ~ 1:15-2:15 ~ Reading 

**New this year - students will have TWO days to complete each test. We have found that some students felt rushed in past years when only given one time slot to take the test, so all students will be given two blocks to finish the test.

Please encourage your child to take their time and do their best on these tests as they are used for placement in middle school. You can support your child's best effort by ensuring they get a full night's sleep before the test and eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. 

We also ask that you minimize absences on MAP testing days if at all possible.  While we do offer makeups the following week, we have found that students who need to makeup the tests experience more anxiety because they miss instruction during the makeup test.  Anxiety can negatively impact test performance.

Science Behind Drugs ~ Friday, 12/14 ~ 9:10-10:40am
This program outlines different types of drugs including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants and medicines and their impact on the brain and body.  Students will begin learning refusal and coping skills and become Peer Prevention Specialists.  The Science Behind Drugs program incorporates a comprehensive, blended learning approach to substance abuse prevention education. Tied to both SEL and Health Standards, the program structure includes an interactive e-learning lesson (on Thursday afternoon) prior to the classroom visit from the Robert Crown educators, whole and small group work infused with games, activities and discussions and an app-based post activity to help assessments for teachers.

Robert Crown Health educator facilitates a classroom program that includes:
  • interactive learning stations for exploration on alcohol, smoking, marijuana, inhalant abuse and medicines and how they affect the brain and body
  • small and large group scenario based activities to explore peer pressure and apply refusal skills
  • discussion on how drugs can impact the adolescent brain
  • question and answer opportunities with a health educator
For more information about the Science Behind Drugs program, please visit the link:  https://www.robertcrown.org/category/science-behind-drugs/

Math
We continued working hard to master multiplying fractions and mixed numbers in math, and began practicing dividing fractions this week. We're moving a little slower through chapter 4 than originally planned, and with the interruptions to our schedule (MAP testing and Science Behind Drugs), I have decided to move our final assessment one more day.  The Chapter 4 Assessment is currently schedule for Tuesday, 12/18. Please encourage your children to continue to practice multiplying and dividing fractions at home by logging on to Khan Academy and Freckle.

Social Studies
We worked on their Revolutionary War Battle Research all week, and turned in their final poster on Friday. I have been impressed with the progress your children are making in their research skills with each of the projects we've worked on this first half of the year! They are growing in their ability to identify the most important information in the text they read, and they are learning to paraphrase the information in their own words! This is a difficult skill to learn, but one that is essential as they move forward in their education. I'm please with how hard they are working to master this skill!

The final Unit 13 Assessment is scheduled for scheduled for Tuesday, December 11th. To prepare for the assessment, your child could re-read the chapter in their History Alive textbook, review he completed organizer posted on Google Classroom as a study guide, and create flashcards for the vocabulary words in the chapter.


Reading
We finished up our Notice & Note Signposts, and returned to our Schoolwide curriculum in reading this week with a focus on story in historical fiction. We discussed the impact of a historical setting on the different story elements. Next week, we will dive deeper into characters and conflict, focusing on how those story elements influence the overall story. We will finish our Fiction unit before Winter Break, with the Fiction Summative scheduled for Friday, 12/21.

We continue to work on our Cereal Box projects this week - you children have been given a great deal of time to work on this project in class. I'm impressed with the quality and care so many of your children are putting into their cereal boxes! These projects and presentations are due on Monday, 12/17. To review the project descriptor and expectations, please ask your child to show you the assignment on Google Classroom. They are expected to submit the graphic organizer by 12/17, as well as be prepared to present their cereal box to the class with notecards.


Writing

We have been using the nonfiction text George vs George to practice our research and note-taking skills, while adding to our background knowledge of the American Revolutionary War. The conversations during our writing block have been engaging!

Fixed vs Growth Mindset

We dove deeper into Fixed vs. Growth Mindset with Mrs. Watanuki this week, and what a great time we've had learning about the latest brain research and how we learn! Your child should be able to tell you about the different parts of the brain, as well as how neurons impact our learning.  Then we spent the rest of the week learning about GRIT. If you're interested in learning why we're taking so much time to teach your children about GRIT, please watch the short TED talk by Angela Duckworth - I've included the link below. We ended the week by studying some famous failures, and sharing them "speed dating" style. Your children's interest and curiosity during this unit has been contagious!  Next week, we will work on all those things that improve our GRIT, including identifying our learning style and personality, positive self-talk, and strategies for when we get stuck.

Angela Duckworth ~ TED Talk

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  

Grit is that 'extra something' that separates the most successful people from the rest. It's the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel in order to stick with our dreams until they become a reality. 
~ Travis Bradberry

Cheers ~

Theresa Fowler

Saturday, December 1, 2018

5-2 Updates ~ 11/30/18

Hello 5-2 Parents ~


What a surprisingly quick and fierce start to the winter season! I hope you are all staying warm and safe, and weren't too inconvenienced by the power outages many of our families experienced as a result of the storm. Though it was a difficult time for many, it was beautiful to see our community pull together to support one another!


Now that we have snow on the ground, please be sure your child is dressed warmly enough to be outside for a 30 minute recess every day. They need boots, snow pants, and gloves to be able to play on the snow. If they do not have the appropriate winter gear, they will stay on the blacktop. I would also encourage you to label all outerwear as we end up with quite a bit of clothing in the Lost & Found this time of year!


Even though it was a short week, we've been busy!  Sit down and get comfy - this is a longer blog post than usual ;)



Important Dates

MAP testing
Monday, 12/3 ~ 11:10-12:00 ~ Math 
Tuesday, 12/4 ~ 11:10-12:00 ~ Math 

Monday, 12/10 ~ 1:15-2:15 ~ Reading 
Tuesday, 12/11 ~ 1:15-2:15 ~ Reading 

Advanced math students will MAP test with our homeroom at the time listed above.

**New this year - students will have TWO days to complete each test. We have found that some students felt rushed in past years when only given one time slot to take the test, so all students will be given two blocks to finish the test.

Please encourage your child to take their time and do their best on these tests as they are used for placement in middle school. You can support your child's best effort by ensuring they get a full night's sleep before the test and eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. 

We also ask that you minimize absences on MAP testing days if at all possible.  While we do offer makeups the following week, we have found that students who need to makeup the tests experience more anxiety because they miss instruction during the makeup test.  Anxiety can negatively impact test performance.

Science Behind Drugs ~ Friday, 12/14 ~ 9:10-10:40am
This program outlines different types of drugs including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants and medicines and their impact on the brain and body.  Students will begin learning refusal and coping skills and become Peer Prevention Specialists.  The Science Behind Drugs program incorporates a comprehensive, blended learning approach to substance abuse prevention education. Tied to both SEL and Health Standards, the program structure includes an interactive e-learning lesson (on Thursday afternoon) prior to the classroom visit from the Robert Crown educators, whole and small group work infused with games, activities and discussions and an app-based post activity to help assessments for teachers.

Robert Crown Health educator facilitates a classroom program that includes:
  • interactive learning stations for exploration on alcohol, smoking, marijuana, inhalant abuse and medicines and how they affect the brain and body
  • small and large group scenario based activities to explore peer pressure and apply refusal skills
  • discussion on how drugs can impact the adolescent brain
  • question and answer opportunities with a health educator
For more information about the Science Behind Drugs program, please visit the link:  https://www.robertcrown.org/category/science-behind-drugs/

Math
We continued working hard to master multiplying fractions and mixed numbers in math. With the break for MAPS testing on Monday and Tuesday, we won't finish Chapter 4 until the following week.  The Chapter 4 Assessment is currently schedule for Monday, 12/17. Please encourage your children to continue to practice their skills at home by logging on to Khan Academy and Freckle.

Social Studies
We began our unit on the Revolutionary War with a tug-of-war game in the classroom on Tuesday. What fun the kids had re-enacting the battle with an actual game of tug-of-war!! The red team represented the British, and the blue team represented the Continental Army - ask your child how unfair the game seemed at first with the largest students on the British side. There were several rule changes to the game that represented the actual events, and the Continental Army was actually able to win the game - ask them how the blue team won!

After reading chapter 13 in their History Alive textbook and completing an organizer this week, we began work on our Revolutionary War Battle posters today. They chose a specific battle to research further and will use the research to create a poster to display on a timeline of the battles of the Revolutionary War. Their research notes and poster are due on Friday, December 7th. The assignment and a few research links are posted on Google Classroom.


The final Unit 13 Assessment is scheduled for scheduled for Tuesday, December 11th. To prepare for the assessment, your child should re-read the chapter in their History Alive textbook, review he completed organizer posted on Google Classroom as a study guide, and create flashcards for the vocabulary words in the chapter.


Reading
We continued our work on Notice & Note Signposts this week - learning about Tough Questions and Words of the Wiser. We have been practicing finding these signposts together as a whole class while reading portions of engaging stories, and they are expected to continue practicing finding these signposts in their novel as exit slips independently.  

Your child should be reading a novel every night for at least 20 minutes - please be sure your child does not skip this most important part of their homework. This week, students chose a specific number of pages their novel groups are expected to read every night - if your child is a reluctant reader, please check in with them to be sure they are reading the assigned pages. The single greatest way to increase comprehension and vocabulary is to read! If they are not reading on their own every night, they will struggle to make progress in their comprehension.


We began working on our Cereal Box projects this week.  These projects and presentations are due on Monday, 12/17. To review the project descriptor and expectations, please ask your child to show you the assignment on Google Classroom. They are expected to submit the graphic organizer by 12/17, as well as be prepared to present their cereal box to the class with notecards.


Writing

We began our unit on Research and Content Area writing this week. This unit is focused on improving their research note taking skills as we read George vs. George, a nonfiction text about King George III and George Washington. This text supports our social studies unit on the Revolutionary War. We will continue for the couple of weeks practicing how to pull the most important information out of a nonfiction text and put it into our own words. Once we finish the text, the students will choose a specific topic from the text to research further, and use to write an editorial (persuasive essay) for a newspaper from the era of the Revolutionary War. 

Fixed vs Growth Mindset

On Thursday, your children were introduced to the difference between a fixed vs a growth mindset through a challenging activity. Ask your child about how they felt through the activity, and some fo the things we recorded them saying!  Mrs. Watanuki joined us to explore the importance of understanding the difference, and pushing ourselves toward a growth mindset. She will be returning every afternoon next week to teach them a little more about the brain, how to develop a growth mindset by learning to persevere through the challenges they encounter in life. 

In a fixed mindset, people believe their qualities are fixed traits and therefore cannot change. These people document their intelligence and talents rather than working to develop and improve them. They also believe that talent alone leads to success, and effort is not required.

Alternatively, in a growth mindset, people have an underlying belief that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. When people believe they can get smarter, they realize that their effort has an effect on their success, so they put in extra time, leading to higher achievement.

Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University, introduced these ideas and wrote a book to describe each mindset in more detail.  According to Dweck, when a student has a fixed mindset, they believe that their basic abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits.  They think that you are born with a certain amount and that's all you have.

People with a fixed mindset always want to appear intelligent because they believe that they were born with a fixed level of intelligence that cannot be modified. These people have a fear of looking dumb to people because they do not believe that they can redeem themselves once other people look at them as being unintelligent.

In a growth mindset, however, students believe their abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning, and persistence.  Their basic abilities are simply a starting point for their potential. They don't believe everyone is the same, but they hold on the the idea that everyone can become smarter if they try.

Character Education
Every week for a month, we spend time in circle discussions and engaging activities focused on one character trait. We've focused on gratitude for the month of November!

Both expressing — and feeling — gratitude are important parts of life. A sense of gratitude can benefit children (and adults!) in a variety of ways. It can decrease stress and has other important emotional health benefits. A person who is grateful tends to spend less time comparing him or herself with others and feeling envious. It also helps people, especially children, step into someone else’s shoes and realize that another person did something nice for them even though he or she didn’t have to. We want our children to be able to relate to other people’s feelings and to feel a sense of belonging in their classrooms and community - cultivating a sense of gratefulness goes a long way toward this goal.


As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, and turns what we have into enough.
~Melody Beattle


Cheers ~
Theresa Fowler


Friday, November 16, 2018

5-2 Updates ~ 11/16/18

Hello 5-2 Parents ~


Can I just tell you that your children are hands down the most special group of 5th graders around?!  If they didn't already come home and tell you, your beautiful children threw me a surprise birthday party today. It was the most adorably touching thing ever ♡  They enlisted the support of Mrs. Watanuki a few weeks ago to supervise them today as they decorated another classroom during lunch, then they paged me to the room at the end of lunch to surprise me. We, of course, stayed in the room to celebrate for a little while, and enjoyed a class game of Silent Ball :) I've included a few pictures at the end of the blog post.  


My heart is just so incredibly full of gratitude as we begin our Thanksgiving Break that I get to spend my days with your children.  Thank YOU for raising such an amazing group of kiddos!!  

Important Dates

Progress Reports ~ you should have received your child's email by now. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Thanksgiving Break ~ Monday, November 19th - Friday, November 23rd. Enjoy the time with your family!


Math
it took our class a little longer to take the Chapter 3 Assessment than I anticipated, so the Owl Scorecards won't come home until we return from break.  We did begin Chapter 4 - Multiplying and Dividing Fraction. Today we worked on word problems, and a few of them didn't finish up the problems, so they may have a bit of math homework to complete over break  You might want to encourage your children to spend some time over break reviewing their math facts and skills to keep them fresh!

Science
Our Earth and Space unit ended this week with final quiz on Monday. I will be sending home the final Owl Scorecards when they return to school after break.  We will begin our social studies unit on the Revolutionary War when we return with a game of tug-of-war!

Reading
This week, your children were introduced to Notice & Note Signposts. These "signposts" alert readers to significant moments in fictional text and encourage them to read more closely.  Learning to spot these signpost and question them enables readers to explore the text and find evidence to support inferential comprehension.  This week, your children were introduced to 2 signposts: Contrast & Contradictions and Aha Moments.  When we return from break, they will learn about 4 more signposts. They were given a bookmark to keep in their novel with all 6 signposts - they should hang on to it as they will need this bookmark when they complete the exit slips associated with each signposts.

Your children also chose a novel this week to read over Thanksgiving Break. The novel should be complete by the time they return to school in order to complete a Cereal Box project based on skills learned during the fiction unit. They will need one large cereal box when they return to school on Monday, November 26th.


Personalized Learning
I was so impressed with the engagement during our Personalized Learning Experience this week! They worked so hard to answer their questions through research!  These questions were challenging, open-ended questions that were not easy to answer with a simple internet search. As they struggled to find research to answer their questions, they strengthened their critical thinking and problem solving skills. After they answered their questions, they created a project to share their findings with the class. Have your child take you to our Google Classroom stream to check out their project!

Hoping your Thanksgiving Break is filled with many moments of relaxing and refreshing time with your families.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  
It's not happy people who are thankful, 
but thankful people who are happy.
~ Loris Malaguzzi
Cheers ~
Theresa Fowler




Sunday, November 11, 2018

5-2 Updates ~ 11/11/18

Hello 5-2 Parents ~


Happy Veterans Day!  My deepest thanks to any of you who have served in our military - today we celebrate your great sacrifice for our country! Tomorrow we celebrate Veterans Day in the classroom. As a school, we will place red, white, and blue pinwheels along Arlington Heights Road and Olive Street to honor our Veterans. We'll also engage in a few classroom activities learning about the importance of Veterans Day. Encourage your children to wear red, white, and blue to join in the spirit of the day!


Important Dates

Progress Reports ~ Friday, November 16th.  Progress reports will be emailed to you from our district this year.  Please don't hesitate to reach out should you have any questions after you receive your child's progress report.

Thanksgiving Break ~ Monday, November 19th - Friday, November 23rd. Enjoy the time with your family!


Math
Our math class spent a little more time preparing the final unit assessment, but we will be wrapping it up with our Unit 3 Assessment tomorrow. Your child should have been practicing adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers, as well as converting division expressions to fractions and decimals this weekend.  Please look for the Owl Scorecard to come home with the graded test this week.  

We begin Unit 4 ~ Multiplying and Dividing Fraction on Tuesday, and finish it after break. Please encourage your children to continue to practice their math skills over break!


Science
Last week, your children spent time learning about and modeling the sun and other stars that appear in the night sky. We looked at 8 different constellations in detail, studying when these constellations appear throughout the year. They ended the week researching a constellation of their choice - ask your child which constellation they chose! They truly seemed to enjoy the connection between these constellations and their past Greek Mythology units.  Their final product was a drawing of their constellation and a paragraph written to include the facts they discovered. Most of the students finished up this project in class, but a few brought it home over the weekend to finish up. Look for the Owl Scorecards for their Constellation Research to come home this week for a sign and return.

Tomorrow, we will take the final quiz in the Earth and Space Unit.  After break, we will return to the Revolutionary War.

Reading
Your children really seem to be enjoying the stories we're reading in our Fiction Unit! They can hardly control their giggling when they're reading them :)  Ask them which one is their favorite! Last week, we spent time looking for challenging words in the text we read, and spent time using the context clues around the work to unlock the meaning.  At the end of the week, we spent time thinking about the overall theme in the stories we've been reading.  Your children learned how to identify the theme, then defend their choice by using specific evidence from the text.  We'll spend one more day practicing tomorrow, then we'll move on to study two different genres of fiction this week - historical fiction, and fairy tales.

Look for a couple of Owl Scorecards to come home for reading this week as well - Context Clues and Theme.

Writing
Your children submitted their Final Personal Narratives on Friday - I've enjoyed the chance to read their stories about a special person in their lives.  You have some adorably sweet children who clearly love their families :)  If you're interested in reading their stories, as them to log you on to their Google Classroom - I think you'll be touched by who they chose!

Please look for the Owl Scorecards to come home for their Personal Narratives this week!

As you read in the email this week from Nancy Brown, our LMC Director, your children did a great job engaging in their science debates this week. After 6 weeks of research, your children worked as a team to develop a ThingLink to share their ideas with the class. Opposing teams engaged in a lively debate about whether or not we should spend money on space travel, or whether or not we can live in space. Look for these Owl Scorecards to come home this week as well!

Personalized Learning
During science and writing times this week, your children will engage in a personalized learning experience. They will get to choose a topic of interest, then develop and open ended question about that topic to research. At the end of the week, they will present their findings to the class in their format of choice. All research will be posted on the Google Classroom Stream - please feel free to log on and check out what the kiddos are interested in!

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  
Our task is to help children communicate with the world, using all their potential, strengths, and languages to overcome any obstacle presented by our culture.
~ Loris Malaguzzi
Cheers ~
Theresa Fowler

Sunday, October 28, 2018

5-2 Updates ~ 10/28/18


Hello 5-2 Parents ~


Shout out to our room reps for putting so much energy into planning an amazing Halloween party for your children - Claudia Melachrinakis, Sophie Gryfakis, and Amy Duffey!!  They've worked so hard to make sure your kids will enjoy their afternoon :)  Be sure to thank them when you see them!


Important Dates
Halloween Parade & Party ~ Wednesday, October 31st ~ 1:10pm.  The kiddos are getting excited for our Halloween celebration Wednesday afternoon!  Our Annual Halloween Parade begins at 1:30pm, with the party immediately following.  It looks like we may have some beautiful weather for the parade ~ yay!  We look forward to seeing many you all along the route!  Please refer to the Olive Blog for more information on rain plans, as well as Halloween costume expectations.

Progress Reports ~ Friday, November 16th.  Progress reports will be shared electronically this year - more information to follow!  


Math
We continue our work on adding and subtracting fractions in chapter 3.  Converting fractions to like denominators is challenging for many of your children, but their diligent practice is beginning to pay off!  Keep practicing these skills at home, and encourage your children to watch online videos and practice skills on Khan Academy.  The Chapter 3 Assessment is currently scheduled for Thursday, November 8th, but may change as we move through this unit.  I will keep you posted! 


Science
We spent some time tracking the sun and shadows last week, and recorded observations in their Science Notebooks.  They used their data to create graphs, then analyzed them to make some claims about the sun and shadows. Your children learned that the sun is always opposite their shadow, that the position of the sun impacts the length of the shadow, and that the sun travels in an arc across the sky. They took a performance assessment on Friday demonstrating these skills, so they will be bringing home Owl Scorecards for a sign and return this week. 

To clarify our classroom policy - if a student does not meet standards on a scorecard, they are expected to correct the work and turn it back in the following day.  They will meet with me to review the concept or skill, and they are given time to correct their assignment in class so they can continue to seek support. If they do not finish the re-do work in class, they may bring home the assignment for homework. If your child continues to struggle with the work at home, please encourage them to return to me for support!

Reading
We continue our work investigating story elements in fiction by digging deeper into characters this week.  Your children have really enjoyed the stories we've been reading in class!  They've been entertaining and thought provoking, so they've prompted a great deal of discussion.  I've been so pleased with the way they are leaning in and engaging in these lessons!  They will be trying their hand at independently analyzing a character on Tuesday - look for the Owl Scorecard to come home later in the week. 

Writing
We will be wrapping up our personal narrative lessons early in the week, then beginning to work on our final personal narratives at the end of the week.  These final personal narratives will be due at the end of next week. They will be working on these in class, and should only need to work on them at home should they be absent or miss a lesson for band.

Just a reminder - students continue to work on research in their weekly LMC lessons to prepare for a debate.  They will engage in a debate about one of the following two topics:


Should we spend money on space exploration?

Would it be safe to live somewhere other than earth?

Ask your child which debate they are focused on, and which side they are on.  They will be working to gather research to support their debate over the next couple of weeks. The debate will be on Wednesday, 11/7 during their LMC time. Students will be assessed on their ability to gather information from multiple sources for research (writing standard), as well as their ability to support their claims with evidence (science standard) with this research.  Some of your children have missed a few lessons due to band, so they have fallen behind in their research. They may need to complete some of the research at home.



As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  

Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.
~ Mr. Rodgers


Cheers ~
Theresa Fowler