Monday, December 21, 2015

Some Fun Before Vacation!

Mismatch Day is Coming!!
Wednesday, December 23 is our last day before winter vacation. The entire fifth grade is celebrating their creativity by participating in what has become a greatly anticipated tradition- Mismatch Day.  A flyer was sent home Friday with the necessary information, but basically your child may feel free to wear the most mismatched clothes possible (without you having to buy anything!) At the end of the day there will be music and dancing and staff members will judge students' outfits.
Small prizes will be given for the most creative, colorful, and mismatched outfits.  This will be a fun way to say goodbye to 2015 and creatively welcome 2016!  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

People Helping People

Greetings Families:
During the joy and excitement of the holiday season, we remind ourselves that even in our own community there are families in need. In addition to our Cradles to Crayons fundraiser, the Kindness Committee of the Student Council voted to help a Burlington family in need. Through the nonprofit organization, People Helping People, students have organized a coin drive for the fifth grade. Please talk with your child about this need, and send in loose change or dollar bills. The money will be used for Christmas gift cards.
Thank you so much for your support.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Student Council Kindness Committee Fundraiser

Families:
The Kindness Committee of the Fifth Grade Student Council is taking on TWO fundraisers this holiday season. The first -- a school-wide effort -- will kick off on Wednesday and supports the nonprofit organization, Cradles to Crayons. This organization provides much-needed support for poverty stricken Massachusetts children up to age 12. The organization accepts donations of new or nearly new clothing (including coats, boots, etc.); toys, games, and stuffed animals; and, school supplies (including backpacks). You can also send coins or dollar bills to contribute to the coin drive students have set up.
Please talk with your child about this fundraiser. It is a wonderful way to involve kids in giving to those in need.
I will also keep you informed about the Student Council's second fundraiser for People Helping People. This fundraiser is specific to fifth grade.
Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December News


I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends! As we move into the next term there are several exciting things to come.
As we move forward in Social Studies we are learning about early settlements: Roanoke, Jamestown, and Plymouth. We will learn about the cooperation and conflict between Native people and English settlers. One focus will be King Philip's War. In addition, students have done their research and are beginning to write their explorer books. To support this effort, each teacher continues to conduct ELA lessons on research, note taking, turning notes into text, citing sources, etc. Mr. Murphy is supporting our work with lessons on how to use the i pad for research and to enhance our presentations.  
We had a great opportunity to see a master teacher, Kelly Boswell, teach a model lesson to my ELA students. Ms. Boswell complimented our Fox Hill students who were very cooperative and engaged during her writing lesson. I was extremely proud of my class! This month in ELA in addition to informational reading I am planning to begin our third core book, Number the Stars. Students will participate in literature circles to discuss this great WWII story.
In Math we continue with long division and as problems become more complex I encourage students to use the problem solving template and strategies we practice every day. Reflex Math is a great resource to help students practice math facts. They should be using Reflex for 10-15 minutes per day.
That's just the beginning! Winter is almost upon us, and our winter concert is right around the corner, so watch the blog for updates!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Celebrating Our Diversity!

Directions for Cultural Identity Quilt

Due: Dec. 2
                           

        At some point in your history, you or some members of your family came here from another country or countries. For this assignment, you will use the Internet, interviews with family members, and an atlas in your social studies textbook to find out more about your ancestors. You will use this information to create a square for a Cultural Identity Quilt.


Directions:
        Your quilt square must include a picture of yourself. Also, use marker or colored pencil to fill the background of your square Then, choose five of the six options below to complete your square:
        1.      A picture/drawing of a map of your family’s country or countries of origin
        2.      The flag of your family’s country or countries
3.      A picture/drawing that represents a special tradition celebrated in your
country (perhaps a holiday)
        4.      Pictures/drawings of food that is unique to your family’s country
        5.      A picture/drawing of an important landmark in your family’s country
6.      A word or two written in the language of your family’s country

        We worked on a rough draft in class and students have a clean 9x9 square to complete their quilt square.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Food Drive

The after-school fitness club, Fit Girls, has organized a Thanksgiving food drive for People Helping People. This organization provides much-needed support to Burlington families. They ask that you check your kitchen for extra items such as: stuffing (bagged or boxed), cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, canned corn, cornbread mix, gravy, or chicken broth.
Please support this food drive, and send your child to school with a contribution. The deadline is Friday, November 20. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Here is our first guest blogger to tell you about some special visitors to our classroom.

Did you say Turtles?
Written by: Daniel

     Yes, I said turtles.  Here in room 13 we have gotten turtles from the Burlington Science Center.  We are very lucky to have these turtles accompany us in our classroom.  The names of the turtles are Mia and Dorito.  They are three-toed Box Turtles.  Here are some facts about them.  Their scientific name is Terrapene carolina triunguis.  They live generally in Texas, Georgia, and Alabama.  They usually eat earthworms and bugs.  Three-toed Box Turtles usually survive 25 to 40 years.

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Mia enjoying her salad.
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Dorito would rather eat crickets.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November News



The clocks have been turned back, the leaves have been blown from the trees and Halloween decorations have been put away (though the treats linger).  It’s November, and as our days shorten and weather cools we are gearing up for new learning in room 13!

We have begun using google classroom, an app designed to facilitate a more organized work flow.  I have given some assignments this way, and students seem to like the technology.  I hope you will ask your child about this and look at the platform yourself to familiarize yourself with it.  Students have been taught the basics, and we are learning this together.  


We are continuing our social studies unit on exploration and will be studying how settlement and colonization affected the people and environment of the Americas.  Included in this unit is a small research project on an explorer.  Directions will be given in class and will also be on this blog.  The bulk of the work will be done in Social Studies and ELA classes, but some research at home may be necessary, so your support will be appreciated. Further information about this is coming soon.

In ELA we have been busy reading both fiction and nonfiction.  We have explored themes and have created a class theme board so we can answer the essential question: “What are the common themes we encounter in literature?”  


We continue this search as we begin reading Michael Dorris’ Morning Girl a fifth grade core book.  This great story of native people’s response to Columbus landing on a Caribbean Island also affords us the opportunity to study point of view as well as figurative language and theme.  Students are encouraged to find “just-right” books to read independently.  A significant part of balanced literacy is independent reading.  Students reflect and write about their reading in weekly letters to me. This ongoing assessment gives me a clearer picture of students’ understanding of text and a very enjoyable glimpse into their thinking!


Students have completed a personal narrative about their camp adventures at Bournedale and are busy writing stories, poems, and informational pieces in Writer’s Workshop.  Typically we have a brief grammar or writing craft lesson, and then students get to work! I have also asked students to be guest bloggers, and  I am excited for you to see their growth as writers.

We had a very successful vocabulary parade and I am encouraging students to use the words they learned last week as much as they can.  Our vocabulary workbook is a good resource, but nothing replaces reading and speaking as ways to grow one’s vocabulary.  As the end of the first term approaches we are also ready to begin our word auctions, so ask your son or daughter about Word of the Day if he or she is in my ELA class.

Math classes are multiplying!  Topic 3 has students using properties of multiplication and estimation to solve problems.  There will be a test on Friday this week and then we are on to topic 4: Division!  It is essential that students know multiplication facts automatically, so please continue encouraging them to use Reflex and help students know their facts!

If you haven't made an appointment for the December 3 Conference Day, please contact the teacher you would like to meet with. You can meet with more than one of us, and we can try to coordinate appointments if you let us know when you want to meet.

Thank you!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Vocabulary Parade

We had a great time sharing our words with classmates.  The creative costumes helped everyone learn new vocabulary and express themselves at the same time.  What a fantastic way to start Halloween weekend!   
Here is a sampling of some of the words from our homeroom: brobdingnagian, virus, bacteria, latitude, monarch, mammal, punctuation, vertebrate, invertebrate, contagious, excavator, offsides, metamorphosis.








Friday, October 23, 2015

A New Look

Change is good! I hope this new look on my blog makes it even easier for students and parents to find information!  I have also invited my students to become guest bloggers to give them an opportunity to share authentic pieces of informational, narrative and persuasive writing.  Look for Daniel's piece on some very interesting visitors to our classroom...coming soon!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Calling All Mathletes!

Math Olympiads is an after school club for kids who want to challenge themselves to solve hard math problems.  A notice went home earlier this week to fourth and fifth grade families.  The club starts on October 26 and continues through March 14.  If your child has a strong understanding of math and likes to solve problems consider signing him or her up for this fun and challenging experience!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October News




 September was a busy and productive month.  Of course the highlight for all of us was the trip to Camp Bournedale.  Students participated in a variety of experiences designed to peak their curiosity, tap into their problem solving abilities and utilize their teamwork.  Thank you to all our wonderful parent chaperones.  We couldn't have this trip without you!  Students have been talking about Camp Bournedale, and are turning their experiences into wonderful pieces of writing. Our writer's workshop buzzes with ideas as students talk and write about Project Adventure, shark dissection, and the lobster boat trip in Plymoth Harbor.  As they learn to revise and edit  they are finding the "hot spots" in their narratives and are "exploding the moments"  with sensory details.  During English Language Arts class time we read Gossamer by Lois Lowry and discussed its themes and vocabulary.  We used this novel to explore reading strategies, that is, the "moves" readers make, such as making connections, visualizing, asking questions, inferring, and synthesizing.  Going forward as students read independently they are expected to recognize how these strategies deepen their understanding. They will begin writing weekly letters to me in their reader's notebook.  We will also begin reading nonfiction, and look at text structure to help us take notes and determine important ideas.  Our next core book is Morning Girl by Michael Dorris, which dovetails with our unit on exploration in America.
  
In Social Studies we have studied and compared pre Columbian civilizations and next will learn about European exploration in the Americas and the profound effects of this historical encounter on Native American peoples. As part of this unit students will research and write about an explorer.  This project will be worked on in school and at home, and directions will be available on the blog.  
In Math we are moving from place value of whole numbers to decimal place value and addition and subtraction of decimals. Of course, problem solving is always something we stress.  One way to help your child is to encourage him or her to spend 10-20 minutes several times a week on Reflex Math.  Automaticity of facts is essential to developing more complex math skills and strategies.  Starting this week I will be available to help students with math on Thursday mornings.  You can drop your child off at 8:00.  If I am absent, or unable to meet I will post a message on my blog.

Parent Volunteer Needed:  Each classroom contributes a basket to one of the PTO socials. There are two ways that this is usually done. One way is for the parent volunteer to send out a letter requesting a donation from each student- usually $3-$5 and then they take the money and purchase the items for the basket. We have had other parents choose a theme and ask students to bring in at item to contribute. The PTO will take care of emailing parents in charge and helping them choose a theme and can walk them through it if they’ve never done it before.  We will need a parent to coordinate this effort, so if you can help with this please let me know and I will forward your name to the PTO rep in charge of this effort.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to meet with me in September. I know back-to-school is a busy time.  It has been a good transition for students and I look forward to a terrific school year!  Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or concerns.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Science Test Friday


Here is an important post from Mrs. Jaffe:
Before leaving for Camp Bournedale/Camp Eagle Fox, I informed students that we will have a science test this coming Friday, October 2. Students received a test notice that includes information about what is on the test and what to study. The main parts of the test cover the science vocabulary from chapter one of our textbook along with the traits of organisms in the Five Kingdoms. During Wednesday's class, I showed students how to get onto the study website, quizlet.com. You can create a free account on this website for your child to access for this and other tests in science, social studies, and math. Just open the page on my blog called "Online Instructional Resources," and scroll down until you find the account creation information under Quizlet. In addition to studying the chapter vocabulary, students should review the Traits Graphic Organizer that they created in class. This should also be in their science folder. 
If your child has not started studying this weekend, I suggest you encourage him/her to start today. Your child will need your support and involvement to study for this test. At this age, most child cannot absorb and retain information for a test without input from a "study buddy."
Let me know if you have any questions about next Friday's test.
- Mrs. Jaffe

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Camp Bournedale Reminder

Remember, students need to be dropped off at the back of the parking lot tomorrow morning between 8:30 and 8:45.

Clearly label all luggage with student's name and school.

If your child is going to be picked up by someone other than his or her parent when we return on Friday, you must give a note stating who is picking up your child to a fifth grade teacher no later than Thursday morning!

Check Mr. Lisano's blog for additional information or email a fifth grade teacher with any questions!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Preamble to the Constitution

In our Social Studies classes this week we spent time learning about the Constitution.  September 17 marked the anniversary of the signing of this important American document.  One activity students enjoyed was memorizing and reciting the Preamble.  Everyone recited to a partner, and a few volunteered to be recorded.  They did a fantastic job!  Here's a sample!



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Great First Day!

Wow! What a super group of kids!!  We had a great day, and I have high expectations for tomorrow too!
We had our first morning meeting and students introduced a partner to the group. They worked hard on a scavenger hunt to locate supplies and classroom tools.  They listened to a wonderful story, Stellaluna, which relates how it's important to be yourself, and to accept others.  They discussed what they had in common over lunch.  In the afternoon we explored many math materials and brainstormed a list of math vocabulary.
In our first Social Studies lesson students looked at some artifacts including a washboard, some arrowheads, a milk dealer's permit from 1924, and my fifth grade report card! We talked about how artifacts are clues to history.  I am looking forward to continuing our discussion when students bring in their own artifacts on Wednesday.
Your child brought home a planner and homework folder full of important papers for you to fill out and send back to school.  Please try to send notices back as soon as possible, especially the conference appointment form.  I look forward to meeting you for a quick conference or at Back To School Night!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Welcome to Fifth Grade!

I can't wait to meet and welcome you all on Monday. You may have many feelings about your summer ending and a new school year beginning, but I am sure that together we can make fifth grade fantastic! It's been a busy and productive summer for me.  I read some great books, which I can't wait to share with you. I have also been in school preparing our classroom, but  there are still many finishing touches for us to work out together.   Hearing about your reading and your summer memories are just two of the many things we will share on Monday.  I hope you have a terrific weekend- rest up and come ready to learn and have some fun!

                                                   Your classroom awaits!
                                              
                                             We have a great classroom library!

I'm not sure what our special schedule will be, so come prepared with sneakers on Monday, just in case we have PE.

There are plenty of reminders to help you know what to do. You will be navigating our classroom like a pro in no time!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Awesome Day!

Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, and siblings who came to congratulate and celebrate with our awesome fifth graders!  It was a fun-filled day!
What a great class!!  I am a lucky teacher!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fifth Grade Reception

Tomorrow is our Fifth Grade Reception:
Bring your lunch; 
a sharpie to sign yearbooks,
and play clothes to change into after the reception!


  • Doors open at 9:05
  • Reception begins at 9:30
  • At 10:30 there will be a "Celebration Walk" as fifth graders exit the cafeteria and go outside to meet parents for lunch
  • you may want to bring a blanket or lawn chairs along with your picnic lunch
  • At 11:30 students will return to the classroom to change into play clothes for the remainder of the day which will be full of fun activities!!!


Hope to see you all tomorrow!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Patriots 873, Loyalists 732!

That's the score so far in this year's battle!
Tomorrow, rooms 13 and 14 celebrate Independence Day by sharing their slide shows and participating in "Battles of Brains".  Students have worked hard to research topics from Valley Forge to Saratoga to Nathan Hale and Abigail Adams.  They learned about many people's unique contributions to the revolution that started our country.  As they share students will take notes, and later in the day demonstrate what they learned from each other.  It will be a day of learning and fun!
                                      Wear red, white and blue if you can, to show your spirit!

WHO WILL WIN?  PATRIOTS or LOYALISTS?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Blizzard Bag Projects

Thank you Mackenzie for letting me share your awesome trip to the New England Aquarium! video

Sahil's Math Journal



Max's Trip to NYC

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June News

May was a busy month which saw a field trip and Survival Day as well as weekly testing.  I am so proud of the focus and hard work that your children put into all this work!

Try asking your fifth grader some of these questions:

  • Who’s your favorite character in the core books read this year, and why?
  • What were some of the themes these books explored?

  • Name the five kinds of text structure we have identified in our nonfiction reading this year.

  • Who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and why was it written?
  • What were some events leading to the Revolutionary War?
  • How do you calculate volume?
  • What is the order of operations?
  • What is an example of the commutative property?

These are just a few of the important concepts we have learned about this year, and we are still learning!  This month in Math we continue to classify polygons, explore data and graphing, and convert units of standard and metric measurement.  We will also have an comprehensive math test, so we will be reviewing “oldies but goodies”, like fractions and division!

In ELA we are finishing Bud, Not Buddy this week.  Students have enjoyed reading about Bud and his search for a dad he has never met.  They are learning so much about The Great Depression, and have researched New Deal programs and created brochures explaining them.  We have also used this novel to explore figurative language and literary devices by  finding examples of simile, hyperbole, idioms, flashback, and foreshadowing.  Students’ poems were greatly influenced by the sensory language they were exposed to. We are in the process of making these poems into a class book, so that everyone may have a copy to take as they say goodbye to Fox Hill.  Students are also currently working on personal narratives about treasured Fox Hill memories. We are having a good time reliving these as we share our pieces and work collaboratively in Writer’s Workshop!

In Social Studies we are gearing up for “Independence Day” in Rooms 13 and 14.  Loyalists and Patriots are working with a partner researching topics such as Saratoga, Bunker Hill, Nathan Hale, John Paul Jones, Weapons of the Revolution, and Valley Forge among others.  Students will create a slideshow presentation in Google Slides to share their learning.  The tentative date for this presentation is June 12.  Students are doing all the research and writing in Social Studies class with their partner.  Their research is going very well, and they are earning points for their “side” by meeting behavior expectations in and out of the classroom.  This is a fun culminating activity, and students are very eager to share what they are learning!  After our unit on the Revolution we have a few more classes to explore what the Founding Fathers did next: The Constitution.  Though students were introduced to this document in September, we will spend a few classes learning about the three branches of government and The Bill of Rights.

Here are some dates to note on your calendar:
June 4            Parents Information Night at MSMS
June 5            Field Day
June 15- 19   School Spirit Week
June 15 Family Fun Festival
June 18          Fifth Grade Reception
June 23          Last Day for Students (half day)

I look forward to seeing you all at our Fifth Grade Reception on the 18th!  More information will be coming home regarding this event, but as always, please feel free to contact me with any questions!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blizzard Bag Projects

Blizzard Bag work is due June 1.  Teachers are available to support students after school this week in the school library from 3-4.  See Mrs. Johnson's schedule in her newsletter.  Students may also email me with any questions, or speak to me or other fifth grade teachers at HELP or recess.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Survival Day

Survival Day is tomorrow!
Permission slips must be in by Friday morning                    

Remember:
  • Bring 2 snacks and a lunch and plenty of water
  • Wear long pants 
  • Wear waterproof footwear
Chaperones should arrive at school by 12 noon

Monday, May 11, 2015

MCAS Tomorrow!

Students,
Your Science MCAS is tomorrow and Wednesday.  Be sure to prepare by getting a good night's sleep, and eating a healthy breakfast! I know you will work hard and do your best!  See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blizzard Bags

"Blizzard Bags" is the title of Burlington's pilot program for cancelled school day learning projects. You can find the directions for the project on the Blizzard Bag site. (This link will bring you directly to the assignments)

You can also access more information about this pilot initiative here .

If you have questions you can email them to blizzardbags@bpsk12.org 

I will provide students with a username and password so they can access the reading/research material on www.getepic.com.




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Student Public Service Announcement

video
After reading A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park our student council wanted to do something to help the people of South Sudan.  We are so proud of their commitment and their hard work to get the message out, and we are grateful to you for your support of their ongoing effort! Thank you!
This video was written by Sean, and produced by Sean, Ryan, and Quinn.

April Newsletter




Can it be spring? I suppose that remains to be seen, but April brings more than showers and warmer temperatures. April ushers in our study of the American Revolution, a student (and teacher) favorite! To learn about this fascinating time in our history students become Patriots and Loyalists and "battle" each other in various games and activities designed to engage, motivate and teach. This activity culminates in a presentation where students show what they learned by presenting it to their teammates. Shortly after our April break we head to the Concord Museum to take part in an interactive experience to learn about the battle at Concord that was the beginning of the war. I will send more information home regarding that trip. Also in Social Studies we are finishing up our look at the Boston Massacre. Students are having a great time debating whether it was indeed a "massacre" or an "incident" as the British called it. I urge you all to take advantage of our proximity to Boston, and visit some of the amazing historical sites our area has to offer.

In ELA we are currently reading an historical novel called Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.  It is the story of a young girl who is enslaved during the American Revolution. This dovetails nicely with our social studies curriculum, as one of the best features of this novel is the use of primary source documents to open each chapter. This book is long and has some challenging vocabulary, so we are reading most of the book in class. I have added a page to my blog which lists some vocabulary as well as some prompts or questions we will be considering in class. Students are enjoying reading this book, as it raises important issues about war, slavery, and class.
In Writing Workshop we are writing some poetry using Ralph Fletcher's work to model some forms and ideas. Students are also working on authentic pieces of persuasive writing as they continue to create PSAs and posters for our fund raising efforts. They are also learning how to frame an argument and write opinions.

In Math we are continuing our work with fractions, multiplying and dividing. Students are enjoying the Motion Math app on their ipads, and continue to practice problem solving. I am still available Thursday mornings for extra help in math!


Our Fifth Grade Student Council's enthusiasm for the Iron Giraffe Challenge I wrote about last month has spread to our whole fifth grade. Our students are all involved in some way to make sure we get to our goal of $1000 to help replace a drill for the people of South Sudan to keep digging wells. Our coin drive ends this Thursday. Next up is a Walk-a-thon. We may be asking for parent volunteers to help monitor our walkers at their recess time. More information will be coming soon.



Important Dates:
April 3 Good Friday, no school
April 20-24 Vacation, no school
May 4 Concord Museum Field Trip
May 7, 6:30            Fine Arts Evening
May 25 Memorial Day, no school

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Job Well Done!

Huzzah! We are finished with PARCC (for now)!  I just wanted to congratulate the entire fifth grade team for working so hard and doing their best.  I know you share our pride in your amazing kids.  The level of concentration and effort they displayed during the five mornings of testing showed such growth and maturity! No matter the results, each child excelled this week!