Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Newsletter

I don’t know about you, but I am glad to bid farewell to the longest shortest month ever. While we wait for the snow to melt we will be very busy in room 13.

Our Fifth Grade Student Council is currently preparing some fund raising activities that we will launch this month.  This effort comes directly from my ELA class and our reading of A Long Walk To Water, a novel telling of the struggle of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  His journey takes him from war torn Sudan to refugee camps to America, and back to Africa where his foundation works to drill wells and build schools. It’s an inspiring story, and I am proud that our students have turned their interest and inspiration to action! You will be hearing more about this through newsletters, and PSAs created by the children themselves!
In Math we are finishing up the first part of our work with fractions.  Students have been working hard to add, subtract, and simplify fractions.  After the topic test later this week, we will push on and start working with improper fractions and mixed numbers.  The children are showing an improvement in multiplication facts which helps them know when and how to simplify fractions.  The Reflex Math program is a great way to practice.  I am continuing Thursday morning math help, so just check the blog in case there is a change on that day.  
In Writing Workshop we are finishing informational reports on animal adaptations. Students started this research in science and are revising, editing, and typing their work in Writing.  We  are looking specifically at writing better leads and conclusions, and improving the traits of word choice and sentence fluency.  
Students in my ELA class enjoyed working in literature circle groups to discuss Hatchet  by Gary Paulsen.  Students did work on a shared google doc to prepare for class and brought their best to each discussion. We are currently reviewing topics in reading such as point of view and text structure in both fiction and nonfiction so students can prepare for the PARCC exam coming up this month.  Also in ELA, since this month is Women’s History Month, students  will read a biography about a woman they would like to learn about and write journal entries in that person’s voice. Directions and the rubric for this assignment will be available on my  blog.  They should have this book approved by me by this coming Thursday.  The next book we will read together is a wonderful 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.
The study of The American Revolution involves mixing rooms 12 and 13 for Social Studies as Loyalists and Patriots.  This allows for a different dynamic and a little competition.  Classes compete for points in quizzes, homework, games, and then in a culminating activity we spend an entire day sharing research projects and competing in games that demonstrate all they will learn.  Who will win this year: Loyalists or Patriots?  Stay tuned!

Important Dates:
March 2-11             Thirty-One PTO Online Fundraiser
March 11 , 6 :30     PTO General Meeting
March 20, 6:00       PTO Paint Night
March 20, 9:00       Parent Workshop
May 7, 6:30            Fine Arts Evening

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