Monday, December 1, 2014

December News

Another holiday season is upon us.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed a glimpse of the wintry weather we can expect.  November saw a few interruptions as well as snowflakes, however, fifth graders remained focused and worked hard, a sign of their increasing maturity and independence.
We have begun explorer projects and most students have completed research and are beginning to draft their writing this week.  These pieces will then be written in an app called Book Creator which can incorporate students' visual literacy as well as writing skill.  Students will enjoy selecting maps and other images to include in their work, and will learn how to correctly cite these important sources.  Even though this is a Social Studies project, we are working on it in ELA and during library classes as well.  This integration across the curriculum gives students a chance to understand connections between disciplines, and gives them access to help from all their teachers including Mr. Donoff, the computer teacher, and Mr. Murphy, our library/media teacher.
In my reading class we are working to hone the research and note taking skills required for this project, but we also continue to read independently, and work on vocabulary.  This month we begin studying and memorizing Greek and Latin root words.  Once students have several words on index cards we will have weekly "auctions" where students bid on the number of words and derivatives they can recite.  Having a secure knowledge of these roots can help students grow their vocabulary and become more efficient readers and writers.  December also brings some testing.  DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) is a district wide screening tool we use to check in on students' reading fluency and comprehension.
In math we are rolling right along with division.  Students who have automatic recall of multiplication facts will find dividing much easier, so please support your child's efforts in memorizing these facts.  As always, Thursday mornings at 8:00 I am available to help students with their math.
I look forward to seeing many of you at parent/teacher conferences this week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Are They Teaching in Math Nowadays?

Here is a good video that provides an example of how (and explains why) math instruction is different today! Thanks to our math coach, Mrs. Fortunato for sharing it!

Parent Math video

Friday, November 14, 2014

We Honor Veterans

Today we read "In Flanders Fields" and made paper poppies to remember our veterans.
It may be a few days after the fact, but we can never be reminded too often to think about our heroes and to honor their service! 

Here are some serious poppy makers at work, and then a "silly" pose after our hard work this week!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November News

No school Tuesday, November 4.

November already!  October flew by so quickly!  We accomplished quite a bit this month in all our classes.  Here are some highlights and happenings:

In Math we are finishing Topic 3, multiplication, and will have a test on Wednesday of this week.  Please help your child by providing time at home for review of multiplication facts. Reflex Math is a great way to do this.  Your child was given a username and password at the beginning of the year.
The next topic covers division, so it is crucial that students have a secure grasp on those facts!

In Social Studies students did a great job on the chapter test which covered early European explorers.  We continue this topic in chapter 4 with a look at conquistadors and early settlements in America.  This will include a look at Thanksgiving, a timely topic!  There will also be a project in which students will use their research and note-taking skills to write a book about explorers on an app called Book Creator.  Much of this will be in school, but to be prepared students will write drafts of their book at home. More information will be posted soon on a page of my blog.

In ELA we are finishing Number the Stars this week.  The children have enjoyed working in cooperative literature circle groups to discuss this wonderful book.  Each child has a turn to be Discussion Director, Summarizer, Word Finder, Connector, and Literary Luminary.  Students check my blog pages to find out which job they have and what their responsibilities are each time we meet for discussion.  As I circulate through the groups I have been impressed with most students' preparedness, as well as the level of conversation. We still have some work to do on identifying themes, but they are using the strategies of visualization and making inferences, as well as noting figurative language. There will be a final assessment on Friday, Nov. 7.

 Also in ELA we are continuing grammar lessons and writing workshop. Halloween gave us an opportunity to stretch our creativity and build writing stamina.  Students wrote "round robin" style, continuing another's story until each of the five-member group had a chance to contribute to every story.  Classical music enhanced the experience, and we enjoyed reading the stories on Friday.

Speaking of Halloween, we have to thank Mrs. Fine and Mrs. Russo for helping us with our pumpkin decoration.  The results were spectacular and six happy class members went home with a fancy pumpkin to celebrate the holiday with an original piece of pumpkin art!
Elmo, AKA Mr. Shannon, lends a hand!



Thanks to Quinn M. for these awesome pumpkin pics!

Finally, our student council has begun, and students are tackling some terrific projects.  UNICEF boxes went home last week, and we encouraged children to collect money while Trick-or-Treating.
Send in the boxes any time this week. Our students are also working on a fifth grade newsletter, and study buddies, among other ideas.  Congratulations to Sophie Z., our class representative for room 13.  I am also proud of all our candidates who took the challenge and ran for this important position: Halle O., Sean C., and Ricky S.  They are all great role models who show what it means to "Be the One."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October News

     What a great September! It was wonderful meeting my homeroom parents in conferences, as well as seeing so many parents attend Back to School Night.  Your time and effort say so much to your child about the importance of school.  I truly appreciate your interest and support!  A special thank you to parents who signed up to be room parents: Mrs. Russo, and Mrs. Fine!  And many thanks also to parents who volunteered at Camp Bournedale!  
     Camp Bournedale and Camp Eagle Fox left lasting impressions on us all.  Teamwork and problem solving are just two of the many learning experiences students shared.  We are busy in ELA classes writing personal narratives, and it's not surprising that many students chose to write about Camp Bournedale.  But that is just one of the writing opportunities we have had.  Along with weekly essays in ELA, students write in Science and Social Studies journals as well as in their Reader's and Writer's Notebooks.  We are reading like writers to explore figurative language such as sensory details, simile, personification, and proverbs.  We are practicing skills like capitalization, using correct punctuation, and using new vocabulary.
     After finishing Morning Girl my readers are enjoying books of various genres.  As we do mini lessons on the elements of fiction, strategies, and author's purpose students are asked to think about those aspects in their independent reading.  They then write a weekly letter to me, and I will respond.  This communication about their reading is an authentic way for students to show what they are learning about the topics they read and about themselves as readers.  Our next class novel is Number the Stars, Lois Lowry's story of  two families in WWII Denmark.  Its themes of survival, friendship, and sacrifice are repeated in many of the books we will read this year.  Students will read this independently and bring their reactions and responses to class where they will work in small literature groups.
     In Social Studies as in other subjects we are asking essential questions.  Why do people move from place to place? How does geography determine the way people live?  How do civilizations begin and end? What is the purpose of government? To tackle these large questions we look at the Maya and Aztec cultures. From there we begin a unit of study on European exploration.  Look for a short research project on this topic in a week or so!
     In math we finished Topic 1 which explores place value of whole numbers and decimals. Topic 2 extends this thinking, and looks at adding and subtracting decimal numbers.  A large part of the topic involves estimating and rounding numbers.  Any experiences in this area (calculating tips, estimating costs, or change) you can provide will help your child make the connection between math in school and everyday math that we all need!

October is another busy month, here are some dates to keep in mind:
Oct.2- Fox Hill Science Night
Oct. 9 & 10- Parent Volunteer Orientation
Oct. 10- School Pictures
Oct.13- Columbus Day- no school
Oct. 17-Pumpkin Fair
Oct 20-24-Book Fair

If you have yet to sign up for a conference with your child's ELA teacher please do so.  December is right around the corner!

*****Math Olympiad: If your child is a strong math student looking for a challenge, then consider signing up! It is free; students meet  here at Fox Hill on Mondays beginning Oct.20 through mid March.  I will be sending home a flyer with children who are interested.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back To School Night

The fifth grade team looks forward to seeing parents tonight.
The evening begins at 6:30 in the cafeteria.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Camp Bournedale!

You must be at school no later than 8:00 tomorrow.
Be sure to label all belongings with your first and last names and "Fox Hill."
See you all tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

We Are Fifth Grade!

     What a great start!  The fifth grade is here and ready to learn.  We are learning about each other, learning new routines, and learning what it takes to be a team player and role model at Fox Hill School.  Last week our students had an outdoor team building activity that aimed to show how we can work together.  We have also created classroom constitutions around four central principles: respect, responsibility, safety, and kindness.  These constitutions are hanging in our classrooms, and posters reinforcing these ideas and rules are all over the school.  Students have discussed their hopes and dreams for this year, and in order to make them come true we all need to do our best and help each other by adhering to these principles of behavior. 
     Of course, we have also jumped right in to our curriculum!  In Math Topic I focuses on place value.The parent letter sent home on Monday explains this in a bit more detail. This year we expand our understanding of place value with decimals, and convert fractions to decimals. 
     My ELA class is busy planting the seeds for future writing in our Writer's Notebooks, and we have also been writing about reading in special Reader's Notebooks.  We are reading Morning Girl by Michael Dorris, and sharing our thinking about the figurative language and characters.
     Social Studies is a subject near and dear to my heart because I love history.  This year we travel through time to learn about the original people of the Americas, European exploration, colonization, the American Revolution, and the beginnings of the United States and its new government.  In every area of study we strive to use the most accurate and reliable sources.  Students will be taught to be thoughtful readers of primary and secondary sources so they may go on to become more independent learners and informed citizens.
     We will have the use of iPads and Chromebooks to make sure students can use technology efficiently and productively.
     I hope you will find this blog an easy way to keep informed about the happenings in fifth grade. You can link to other teacher and district blogs and websites on the left side of this page.
       It has been great meeting with parents.  If you haven't come in for a brief conference and would like to, please let me know and I will call you.  I look forward to working with you this year.  See you at Back To School Night on Tuesday, September 23!


Friday, August 29, 2014

School Starts Tuesday!

I can't wait to meet my students on Tuesday.  Our classroom is ready and I am preparing some fun activities for our first day together.
I hope you and your child will take a minute to look at some of the posts on this blog.  It's a great way to get a sense of what happens in fifth grade.  During the year this is an easy way for you to keep informed about homework and upcoming events.
 These pictures will give you some idea of what our classroom looks like.

All learning starts with big questions. I hope my students will bring their questions...

...and their hopes and dreams for fifth grade!

I am still not sure of our schedule for specials, so students should be prepared with sneakers in case we have PE!
Enjoy the "last" weekend of summer!
Mrs. Lee

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Welcome to Fifth Grade!

Don't you wish summer could last forever?  Sometimes I do, but then I remember what fun it is to start a brand new school year!  I can't wait to meet my new students and hear about your summer adventures.
Here are a few pictures of my summer vacation...

This is Otto, my son Matt's puppy.  They live in California.

We visited this famous city in California.  Can you guess it from the picture of the cable car?

Maybe this famous bridge is a better clue!

                                   These are images of a beautiful stretch of coast called Big Sur.

    This is the Mission at Santa Barbara.  We will learn about the Spanish missions in Social Studies!

                                  California sunsets are spectacular.  I had an amazing vacation!

No summer is complete without reading great books. I read fantastic books over the summer.  Because of Mr. Terupt, A Long Walk to Water, and Gossamer were my favorite fiction books. I read some great nonfiction, too:  Chasing Lincoln's Killer, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and Oil Spill! Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  I also read a couple of books about wasps after I was stung. Ouch! I will share that story and some of my summer fun when we meet.  And I can't wait to hear your stories!
See you soon!
Mrs. Lee

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Letter to My Students' Families

June 24, 2014

Dear Fifth Grade Families,

Where has the year gone?  It seems just a short time ago I was writing a welcome letter and meeting you all for the first time.  That first day of school back in September was filled with anticipation and excitement.  The children and I spent time sharing our hopes and dreams, and it is my hope that the year brought many positive changes and growth for your child.  We’ve shared so many wonderful experiences: the team building and fun of Camps Bournedale and Foxy, Wall of Fame, student council, Concord Museum field trip, Survival Day, culminating in the fabulous Fifth Grade Reception.  
As your child enters middle school he or she will be filled with the same anticipation and excitement.  With this new school year comes an important transition.  I am confident that they have been given an excellent foundation from all of the teachers at Fox Hill.  I am grateful and proud that I have been part of that team, and a little bit sad that I must say goodbye to such curious, enthusiastic, generous, and caring children.

Please take note of the required summer reading information that you can access on the BPL website which you can get to from my blog.  We have gone over the titles and I have talked a bit about each, so he or she can make an informed choice.  In addition to the required reading I encourage your child to visit the public library this summer and to enjoy the pleasures of great books.  I would love to hear from them about what they are reading and have told them to email me if they would like to keep in touch.

Thank you for your support and your dedication to your child’s education.  Fox Hill parents are the best!  I wish you and your family a fun and relaxing summer.

All the best,
Roseann Lee

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why I Teach

Our fifth grade reception was a truly wonderful experience.  The children made us all proud and the day was filled with fun.  It was time to celebrate our hard work.  We enjoyed just being with each other, from the picnic with our families, to dodge ball, to dancing, even an old-fashioned game of 7 Up! (Yes, kids still love that game!)
These wonderful children have enriched my life and I cherish each and every one of them. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing these precious children with me!

 I found this message on my board at the end of the day!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Math is Cool!

On Saturday some of our Math Olympiad participants competed at the Middlesex Math Madness Tournament sponsored by Memorial School teachers Valerie Burns, Tara Olshaw, and Rose Magliozzi.  It was an exciting and well organized event. Students completed 10 problems in the individual competition, and then worked as a team to solve ten more problems.  A sample problem is below so you can try it for yourself.  (Ask if you want the answer!)
 I am so proud of our fifth graders: LiAm W., Matt T., Jane R. and Thiviyan S. and fourth grader Ronak G.

Here's one of the problems our challengers had to solve:
The numerator of a fraction contains two of the numbers 2, 3, 5 ,7 and 9., which are added, subtracted, or multiplied.  The denominator contains two of the other numbers and they are added, subtracted or multiplied.  What is the greatest possible value of the fraction?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June News

    June! it is hard to believe that only nine months ago I was introducing myself to all of you.  It has been a very full year, with much growth and fun, but we are not quite finished, so please encourage your child to stay focused and keep up their efforts in every class.  Our visit last week to the middle school brought many questions, but mostly excitement and anticipation.  Your children are growing up, and middle school is the next step.  They are ready!

     PARCC testing went very smoothly.  I am so proud of all the fifth graders who took this work so seriously and gave their best effort.  They responded to every challenge with maturity and patience.  We also enjoyed a break from the hard work on Field Day.  As usual, Mrs. Moules and Mrs. McCall organized a very special and fun-filled day of activities including our annual teacher vs. fifth graders volleyball tournament. (I was called a "menace" at the net!) Congratulations to our homeroom who won the relay race!  Also of special note: Meghan S. who won the 50 Peppers jump rope contest!  Also participating in fifth grade special activities were  Jane, LiAm, Ethan, Nataleigh,  & Sydney!  I

     In math we are working on fractions: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  There are also two areas that we need to address which are very brief lessons. One is plotting ordered pairs, and another is interpreting and creating line plots.  In other math news, I will be taking a team of Math Olympians: Thiviyan S., Jane R., LiAm W., Matt T., and fourth grader Ronak G. to compete at the Middlesex Math Madness Math Tournament.  We are very excited to participate with teams from Memorial School in Burlington and several other towns. 

     Students in my ELA class are creating Public Service Announcements.  This involves some research and critical reading on topics from global warming to how much sleep kids really need.  Students picked topics of interest and are currently working with a partner to plan, write, and then record their PSA. I am hoping post them to You Tube with a link from this blog.  They are using what they have learned about persuasive writing and are using iPads to research and to record their final project. 

    Our final topic for the year in Social Studies is the Constitution. Though time is short, students will know the basic facts: who, what, when, where, and why about the Constitution. Here's a question to ask them: Who is known as the "Father" of the Constitution? If they answer James Madison, you can tell them: "well done!"  That's one of the questions on the short quiz I am planning for June 16.  This week there is a quiz on the causes and effects of the American Revolution.

   As we count down the final weeks here are some important dates to note:
Family Picnic: Monday, June 16 at 6 pm
Fifth Grade Reception: June 19 at 9:30 am 
Last Day of School: June 24  (half day)

    And finally, I want to thank each of you for your support and effort to help make this a productive and memorable final year at Fox Hill for your fifth grader.  See you at the Reception!  Have a wonderful summer!

Roseann Lee

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Field Day

Field Day is Friday (if weather cooperates!) 
Fifth graders are asked to wear their DARE T shirts.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

I just want to say a special thank you to all of our terrific Fox Hill moms!  I appreciate all you do to support your children. Thank you for sharing them with me!
Wishing you all a wonderful Mother's Day!
Mrs. Lee

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

E Mail

The e mail attached to this blog is an older account that I do not usually use. The best way to contact me is to use my school email which is  I check this account several times a day and in the evening.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

What's New in May

     May 2014 
    The month of May brings flowers, but it also brings MCAS and now PARCC!  Next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 13 and 14 are our two Science MCAS days.  The following week we will begin the End-of-Year pilot test of the PARCC. (Yes, it seems we just did that!) The students are taking all this testing very well.  In addition to these state standardized tests, we have district level tests: DRA, and iReady testing in reading.  As I understand it, the children will not take iReady math, but will do a test called Symphony, which is also computer-based.         Whew! Because of all these tests I am working with my team to limit any classroom tests in math and social studies.  I have a very clear idea of how students are doing as I watch them work every day.  They think and reflect on their reading, they research and write, they discuss, they solve complex problems.  Some need a little more support in some areas, but growth is clear.

This week in math we are exploring algebraic expressions and the order of operations.  Because we need to finish up some of these math topics before the end of the year I am offering math help every morning, not just on Thursdays. Watch the blog for updates.  If I can not be available to students any morning I will post it on the blog as soon as I can!  

Students in my ELA class are loving Bud, Not Buddy. They are enjoying Bud's humor, but are also asking serious questions about homelessness, The Great Depression, and race.  The themes, settings, and characters are so engaging. Students are having trouble not reading ahead!  You can hear a pin drop in my classroom as they read this great book! 

    In Social Studies fifth graders are writing a persuasive letter taking a position on some aspect of independence during the colonial era. Research topics include the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts and the Stamp Act. Students  will use i pads to access text sets on the Evernote app to read about the issue they have selected.  They must research, take notes, and support their opinions with reasons backed up with facts.  

 Our visit to the Concord Museum was a great success.  We learned about the events of April 19, 1775 as we stood on the very spot where it all happened.  
 If you enjoy history and haven't been to this museum, I highly recommend making the trip to Concord.  Ask your child to guide you! 

This is one of the two lanterns that hung in the church tower signaling the Regular's approach.
A colonial merchant talks about how the events of the day will affect him and his business and family.

     We are all looking forward to Arts Night on May 7.  Mrs. Coroniti, Ms. Calhou, Mr. Napierkowski, and Mr. Scarpula are all working hard with your children to showcase their amazing abilities in music and art.  I hope to see you all at the show! 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Math Help on Friday!!!

I am not available to help students at our usual Thursday morning math session.  We will meet on Friday instead.  Dividing with decimals is on the menu for this week!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Field Trip Reminder!!

I hope you had a relaxing and fun week.

Remember to come ready for our field trip Monday, April 28!!
Pack a snack and a lunch and be ready to "become" a member of a prominent Concord family of 1775!
We are leaving promptly at 8:45, so be on time.

Enjoy your weekend; see you Monday!

Friday, April 11, 2014


You can study the vocabulary for the quiz on Quizlet.  You can link to it from here:
 "Concord Museum Vocabulary" 
Don't forget to read about your Concord "family"...
Have fun preparing for our field trip!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Math Help This Week

Math help this week will be at 8 o'clock on Friday morning instead of Thursday. We are starting a unit on division of decimals!  All fifth graders are welcome!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April is Here

     April and warmer weather are here! There is much to be said for outdoor recess.  Here's hoping April will be warm and dry so we can get outside with more regularity.
     Our homeroom finishes up PARCC testing this Friday, and I am very proud of the way the children worked on these tests.  Even though they were told that these were field tests, and would not be counted, they took the testing seriously, worked hard, and checked their answers.  Many enjoyed doing the test on Chromebooks instead of the traditional paper and pencil.
     Students have also been working in homeroom groups on geometry in math and poetry in ELA.
Our math unit focused on classifying triangles and quadrilaterals based on their characteristics.  Remembering these properties is essential in order to reason through the problems in the unit.  Next week we will be back in our regular math classes and we will be tackling division of decimals.  Likewise we will be meeting in our usual ELA groups.  Mrs. Lee's class will begin reading a wonderful book, "Bud, Not Buddy."  We will start wit a few background lessons on the Great Depression, the setting of the book.  Regular spelling, grammar and vocabulary homework will also resume.
     In Social Studies our own War For Independence is underway. Students in rooms 13 and 14 have been divided into two groups.  They compete for points over the course of the unit.  Loyalists have a slight lead over the Patriots as of this writing. Points are given for answering questions, following the rules, etc.  During the unit students work with partners and groups to research and share information about the American Revolution.  Students will write an informational piece, create a poster or Google presentation, and write a persuasive letter from the point of view of a colonist.  Classes will also visit the Concord Museum for an interactive experience about the events of April 19, 1775.  Students will "become" prominent citizens of Concord to better understand the reasons for the "shot heard 'round the world."
     We are all looking forward to Arts Night on May 7.  Mrs. Coroniti, Ms. Calhou, Mr. Napierkowski, and Mr. Scarpula are all working hard with your children to showcase their amazing abilities in music and art.  I hope to see you all at the show!

Friday, March 21, 2014


By this time you have heard about the PARCC field test. As of now the schedule has our homeroom  taking various parts of this test as follows:
Math on Wednesday morning (3/26)
ELA on Thursday afternoon (3/27)
Reseach/Narrative on Friday (4/4)

During the two weeks of testing grade 5 students will remain with their homeroom teacher for Math and ELA.  We will be teaching a unit in Geometry in Math, and will be continuing with independent reading and writing activities in ELA. Science and Social Studies will continue as normal. As the week progresses I'm sure we will need to "tweak" the schedule and our plans, so we remain flexible as well as curious about PARCC.
 Since this is just a field test, as you know, no results will be shared with us or you.  I have discussed the test with all of my students and reminded them to do their best, but not to feel any pressure. They will be taking the test on Chome Books.  There will be questions that they may not feel confident about answering.  They all seem to understand that this is an opportunity for Burlington kids to get a little experience with this format of testing before the the actual test occurs in the future.
If you have any questions I urge you to contact me or  Mrs. Johnson or Dr. Conti.

The only MCAS assessment they will have is the Science/Technology MCAS sometime in May.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Social Raffle Basket

Mrs. Cargile has agreed to collect money for our class' Spring Social Basket.  Please send in $2 in an envelope.  If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Lee or Mrs. Cargile.
Thank you!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Social Studies Test this Friday

I just wanted to remind students in rooms 13 and 14 that they can use Quizlet to study the vocabulary for our chapter 7 test. You can have access to the flash cards and games in the jaffe/lee group. If you have not tried this handy and fun study tool yet, why not try it now? 
Just go to and search jaffe/lee.  If you need to sign up, be sure to have a parent do this part!  Happy studying!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fox Hill Fraction and Decimal Club

This is a great opportunity for students to review what they learned about fractions and have fun! The club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays 3-4, beginning March 26.  Notices have already gone home, but reminders will be sent, so watch those backpacks!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Canceling morning math help...

I have bus duty this week, so I am unable to meet with my math friends on Thursday.  Please try to catch me during HELP block or at recess if you need help!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Another Harriet...

Harriet Hanson

At five A.M. her work began,
changing bobbins-filled for empty.
She drudged twelve hours through each day,
six days a week for paltry pay-
until the bosses cut all wages.

In factories around the town rose loud complaints.
“This isn’t right,” the mill girls shouted. “We will fight!”
Some risked their jobs, went out on strike,
and marched as one down the street.
Arm in arm,
they sang their song.

Harriet’s friends were scared.
They argued long.
Their parents counted on their earnings.
Should they stay or turn-out, too?
The strikers were about to pass.
“I’m tired of talk!” she spoke at last.
“I don’t care what you might do!
I’ll go alone.”

Harriet joined the throng,
but then she saw-
a surging swirl

of fellow workers follow her!

by Ann Whitford Paul

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Celebrating Women's History

Harriet Tubman

  by Eloise Greenfield
Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And wasn't going to stay one either

"Farewell!" she sang to her friends one night
She was mighty sad to leave 'em
But she ran away that dark, hot night
Ran looking for her freedom
She ran to the woods and she ran through the woods
With the slave catchers right behind her
And she kept on going till she got to the North
Where those mean men couldn't find her

Nineteen times she went back South
To get three hundred others
She ran for her freedom nineteen times
To save Black sisters and brothers
Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff
Wasn't scared of nothing neither
Didn't come in this world to be no slave
And didn't stay one either

     And didn't stay one either

- See more at:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Newsletter

Hello Families,
Hopefully March will bring sunnier skies and warmer temperatures!
February, though short, was a busy month. Students in my ELA class began researching topics of interest to write brief research compositions. Topics ranged from Alaska to Neptune! As I read these, some common needs were revealed and will continue to be addressed this term. Most students still need support, understandably, in taking notes in their own words to avoid copying text directly from their sources. Revision and editing are also areas which will continue to be a focus in our writing workshops. Since March is Women's History Month, our informational writing this term will take the form of a diary. Students will read a biography about a woman that they would like to learn more about and then create a diary. Directions for this will come home this week.
In Social Studies we are beginning to study the War for Independence. As we learn from text, primary source documents and images, and some video clips, students will again be asked to write from a different point of view. After exploring different topics such as the Boston Massacre, the Stamp Tax, and the Boston Tea Party students will take a position and write a letter expressing and supporting their opinions. "Loyalists" and "Patriots" will "compete" for points during this unit, bringing some novelty and excitement to our class sessions! Later in the term, I am hoping students will be able to create glogs, online interactive posters, to publish and share their learning.
In math we have finished Topic 5, which focused on division, and I will continue to support students who need further remediation. Though I have missed a few Thursday morning help sessions due to snow days and illness, I have met with my math students at HELP or in class in small groups or individually, and I will continue this practice to make sure they have the remediation they require. The first lessons in Topic 6 focused on multiplication of decimals by multiples of ten. Most students grasped the "short-cut" of simply moving the decimal point to the right. More difficult for them to comprehend is the idea that the product of a whole number multiplied by a factor that is between 0 and 1 is less than the whole number. For example: 26 x .5 = 13. The series of lessons in this topic builds on this essential understanding so we will be spending considerable time establishing this. 
Finally, but equally important is our continuing focus on creating and maintaining a nurturing and supportive classroom environment. The fifth grade team presented a video at a recent assembly that showcased not only our students' talent and fun-loving nature, but also their understanding of what it means to "Be The One". Clips included students sharing, working together, including everyone, and standing up to bullying behaviors. I am very proud of their effort, as is Mrs. Johnson. In our morning and closing meetings each day we share stories and hopes and concerns in order to become more closely connected to each other. This is such an important time in our day. I treasure this brief moment in our day when we can all enjoy each other and have a fun activity or just share a laugh.
Lastly, report cards will be sent home soon. Though no day is set aside for conferences, I am always available to meet or talk by phone to discuss your child's progress.
Please continue to check the blog for updates, and feel free to contact me directly anytime! Thank you for your continued support!

Friday, February 28, 2014

No Math Help

I am so sorry to postpone this again, but I am out sick with a nasty cold today.  I will be sure to check in with anyone who wants help next week and make plans to meet with individual students. I did go over the last test with some students on Wednesday, and we made good progress.  Many of the errors were related to errors in reading problems carefully! I encourage all students to read problems at least three times and to use the problem solving template: identify the problem first, then list what information is relevant, then decide on a strategy and if possible, estimate what a reasonable answer might be. Then solve and check for reasonableness.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Math Help Rescheduled

I will be unable to meet students for math help Thursday morning, so I will meet with anyone who wants some help on Friday at 8 am.
Sorry if this causes any inconvenience.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

News for Room 13: February

Thanks to this winter we all have a new weather term: the polar vortex, which has been keeping us indoors at recess most days. We are looking forward to thawing out, but it looks like this week will bring us some more wintry weather! Oh well, that's winter in New England!
We have pleanty of work to keep us "warmed up." In math we are wrapping up our unit on division, and will look at multiplication of decimals next. Math classes will also be taking the iReady test this week. Remember, Thursday mornings I am available at 8:00 for anyone needing help in math.
My ELA class finished reading Hatchet and for a culminating experience we used iPads to record "Brian " interviews. I was very impressed with the students' thoughtful questions. They showed a real depth of understanding of the character and themes of this great book. We continue to explore ways to improve our informative writing, including identifying and using text structures to take notes. The most challenging part of this experience seems to taking notes in students' own words. One helpful strategy we've learned is to make an alphabox of key words. This is simply a chart of 26 boxes-one for each letter- into which students write the key words from a passage or article. They can then use the words and phrases from the chart to summarize. Since there are only individual words students must write the summary in their own voice instead of copying long phrases or sentences directly from the passage. Alphaboxes have other uses as well. It's a great study stategy for science and social studies tests!
Speaking of social studies, we continue to explore the early colonies and will look at how slavery impacted the colonial economy. It surprised many students to learn that slavery existed in all the colonies. Just yesterday in The Boston Globe there was an article mentioning five places here in Massachusetts where evidence that there was a slave trade exists. What with February being African American History Month I think our focus on this is quite timely as well as important. To help students better understand this unit they were asked to complete a map which is due early next week.
February also brings us Valentine's Day. Though we do not "celebrate" with a party as your child may have done in earlier grades, he or she is welcome to bring in Valentines for his or her classmates (please encourage your child not to exclude anyone). Valentines may not contain anything edible, so no candy or lollipops please.
Please continue to check the blog for updates, and feel free to contact me directly anytime! Thank you for your continued support!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Newsletter for January 2014

 Happy 2014 and welcome back!   I hope you and your family enjoyed a relaxing break and a fun holiday.
     Here are a few topics we’ll be exploring in the weeks to come.  In December fifth graders were given a DRA2, which helps us to see what specific aspects of reading fluency and comprehension to focus on. In my guided reading groups we will pick up where we left off looking at how nonfiction text is organized, but I will form groups based on the data collected from those DRA tests to better meet the needs of my readers. Students will be expected to continue their weekly letters to me about their independent reading. We are also looking at creating video book reviews of the MCBA books so many students have been selecting. We will also begin reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This core fifth grade novel is about a boy who is stranded in the Canadian wilderness and discovers his capacity for survival.
    Vocabulary, grammar and spelling practice continues as usual.  We will begin “auctions” next week to practice and assess the Greek root words we have been studying.  Students bid a certain number of words they think they can define, and must recall definitions and derivatives. This is a fun and exciting way to increase our vocabulary. Many students from last year told me it was one of their favorite activities.  The record for “Champions” last year was 48 words recalled. I bet we can top that score by June!
    In math we will be finishing up Topic 4, division, and after a review this week we will have the topic test next week. We continue to emphasize strong problem solving strategies. Students need to read word problems several times, isolate the question, plan their solution, and calculate accurately.  Perseverance and clear, logical thinking are essential as is clear and concise notation.  The problem solving template we use is online and students should have a paper copy in their HW folders. Please encourage them to use this valuable resource. Also I will resume Thursday morning (at 8:00 in room 13) math help for any fifth grader who wants help.  
    In Social Studies this week we will finish viewing excerpts of a PBS series called "We Shall Remain".  This depicts the beginnings of the Pilgrim/ Wampanoag relationship, how it evolved, and how it eventually deteriorated into King Philip's War.  Students will write a journal entry from the perspective of a Wampanoag child living in a prayer town.  
   Please check the other teachers’ blogs for their news and homework.  
Best Regards,

Mrs. Lee