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!

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