Sunday, March 31, 2013

Goodbye Snow, Hello Spring!

     It looks like we are finally able to put the snow shovels away and take out the gardening trowels. That also means we are well into our third and final term of the school year.  It is now that students will be expected to put their efforts into showing what they know in each subject area. We continue to learn new content, so students need to apply the study skills, and reading and writing strategies we have practiced all year.
     Research projects in homeroom and social studies will provide students with the opportunity to read nonfiction from both print and digital sources, take notes, paraphrase,  organize details, cite sources, and share information through writing and oral presentation.
     Regular routines established throughout the year will help students complete assignments and be ready for MCAS and district assessments.  Not only will we write informational pieces, but we will also explore more creative writing, such as poetry, stories and scriptwriting.  Of course, grammar, spelling and vocabulary lessons continue weekly.   Students are expected to use the skills and concepts effectively in their writing.
     Guided reading classes will now meet four days a week, and will include reading a class novel, Bud, Not Buddy, as well as continuing with nonfiction reading skills.
     While we continue learning new concepts and skills in math, we will also review earlier standards to prepare for the Math MCAS.  Please check the weekly bulletin for the schedule.  They will also hace a science MCAS.  Speaking of MCAS, I was extremely proud of my homeroom students' effort and stamina during the ELA test.  They worked very hard!
     The Loyalists and Patriots continue to compete in socials studies classes, as well as in other classes and during unstructured times and transitions..  Students will select a topic from the American Revolution and work with a partner to research and present information.  This will be done in school.  We are lucky to have the use of the newly arrived Crome books, as well as four classroom computers, I pads and the computer lab and library to conduct this research.  Students are learning and practicing skills that are essential as they move into the next phase of  their education.
     Our field trip to Concord Museum is on April 22. More information and permission slips will be sent home this week.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Newsletter

February was another busy and productive month, though short!  I hope you enjoyed the February break. The Monday back was a bit slow and sleepy, but we were well into the groove by Tuesday, and before we knew it March blew in and here we are!

In my Math class we continue working with fractions.  Students are enjoying the games and lessons using whiteboards.  They are also showing an improvement in multiplication facts which helps them know when and how to simplify fractions.  The Reflex Math program is a success!  Many students have achieved great results and have earned certificates indicating their achievement!  I am continuing Thursday morning math help, and I will begin using that time to work on MCAS prep which will also be a focus in class and for homework.  
We finished up Hatchet  and had a final assessment.  The next book we will read together is Bud, Not Buddy which we will probably start in April.  This month, being Women’s History Month, I will ask students in my homeroom to select a biography about a woman they would like to learn about.  They should have this book approved by me by this coming Thursday, and I will assign a book project so they can share what they learn.  In Guided Reading we continue MCAS preparation so that students will be familiar with the format and reading level of the text they will meet.  Some of these selections and open response questions may be sent home, so be sure and take a look so you can support your child's learning.  The Grade 5 ELA MCAS is March 20 and March 21.
In Writing Workshop we are finishing persuasive essays, and though we have some fine tuning to do, students had some very interesting opinions to share. Many did research that led to even more questions.   We will continue learning research skills as we move into another type of writing: informative.  This term in Social Studies students will write a short research paper on a topic pertaining to the Revolutionary War.  Speaking of which, be sure and ask your child if he or she is a Loyalist or a Patriot.  A perennial favorite activity of fifth graders is upon us.  The study of The American Revolution involves mixing rooms 12 and 13 for Social Studies as Loyalists and Patriots.  This allows for a different dynamic and a little competition.  Classes compete for points in quizzes, homework, games, and then in a culminating activity we spend an entire day sharing research projects and competing in trivia games that demonstrate all they will learn.  Who will be victors this year: Loyalists or Patriots?  Stay tuned!

Important Dates:
ELA MCAS - March 20, 21
Report Cards- March 13
Family Math Night- March 21
Parent Coffee Night  hosted by Principal Johnson- March 5 @ 6:30