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

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