Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Remember, if you bring Valentines cards, to bring one for each of your classmates.  
Valentines should not contain any candy or food.

Monday, February 2, 2015

February News

We awoke this morning to twin delights: the amazing victory of our Patriots at the Superbowl and the beautiful snowfall giving us a day off to savor that victory.  ( And an extra day to study for our math test!!)

February has begun and Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, predicting, as if we couldn't tell just by looking out our windows today, that we have six more weeks of winter!
Here's a look at what will be coming up this month in room 13:

In math we will take our Topic 7 test Tuesday, February 3.  Students have worked hard to understand decimals.  It is a difficult concept, one that takes much repetition and practice. So even though we are moving on this week to a unit on fractions we will keep reviewing and practicing decimals.  They are concepts so closely related. Students should be able to see and explain that connection.  This will be an essential understanding that I will work hard to help students learn and apply.  Please consider sending your child to school early on Thursdays (8:00) for extra math help, and encourage him or her to ask for help!
I will also have math students try a few PARCC sample questions to prepare them for what the format of the test will look like.  PARCC testing happens in March in Math and ELA.

My ELA students are enjoying reading Hatchet, a fifth grade core novel by Gary Paulsen, which explores the theme of survival.  We are employing Literature Circle discussion groups to hone in on various aspects of the book. Students must generate thoughtful questions, summarize, make connections, identify and explain figurative language, and find the meanings of new vocabulary.  Our discussion sessions are lively, and students are learning to work cooperatively on a google doc as well as in person.  (It was very cool to "eavesdrop" on these discussions via google docs on a day I was home sick!)
In writing we are finishing persuasive pieces that grew from our shared reading of an incredible novel, Linda Sue Park's A Long Walk To Water. Please ask your child about this.  We were all moved by this story of a Sudanese refugee and his work bringing clean water to Sudan.  So our writing represents an authentic experience to express our concern about an important issue, and our desire to make a difference by using various forms of writing to inform and persuade others to action. Students' work comes in the form of letters, op ed pieces, and public service announcements.  We are revising and editing this work, and hope to have it available on this blog soon.

Finally, in Social Studies we have had a number of lessons on King Philip's War, which gives students a glimpse into early settlement of New England, and the effects of that settlement on the Native Americans living there. Students were asked to write a journal entry  from the point of view of a Wampanoag child responding to living in a praying town.  Using the content vocabulary is very important to show evidence of their understanding. This week we will move on to the settlement of middle and southern colonies.  This topic will include reading about slavery in the colonies, a fitting subject for February, Black History Month.

Please link to Mrs. Jaffe's blog for a look at what students are working on in science!

I also just want to remind you to check students' planners and folders.  It may be a good time to clean out backpacks!  As always please contact me with any questions or concerns.  Stay warm and enjoy winter's wonders!