Monday, February 1, 2016

Room 13 News

58 degrees!! in February!! Where are our snow days?  The weather is certainly up to its unpredictable tricks, and as I look at my students wearing shorts and T-shirts, I know that our New England weather may yet give us a dose of winter!

Inside, however our work remains focused and on target!  February is African American History Month, and we will be exploring and reflecting on the contributions of African Americans throughout the month. We begin with a poem written by an African American poet each day in our ELA class. The first poem is “On Liberty and Slavery” by George Moses Horton, born a slave on a tobacco farm in North Carolina. As students identify themes in these many diverse poems I am hoping they will see the unique voice each poet brings to his or her experience as a person of color in America.  Our Social Studies classes will also read articles and look at primary source documents that reveal the history of African Americans in colonial times and the Revolutionary War.  

Students are passionate about so many issues. They did a great job researching topics for their informational pieces in my ELA class.  We have learned about chocolate, leopards, different dog breeds, WWII, electricity, and the water cycle thanks to our class of writers. They used various formats to communicate information, including posters and digital books.  Next, we will look at writing as a way to persuade.  Of course, careful research and note taking are essential parts of this work, so we continue to hone those skills.   I am also hoping to have students contribute more guest posts to this blog. The more authentic writing kids can do the more invested they are in the process.  This, of course, makes the writing more purposeful and engaging!

In Math we have finished Topic 7 which was division of decimals.  We are onto fractions next after some pretesting to assess what students know and what they need.  One thing I noticed while we were working with decimals was that many students seem to lack experience with money.  In these days of gift cards and online shopping, children don’t always know what coins are worth, or how many nickels are in a dollar, (or even what a nickel is).  When was the last time you used coins?!  It may be helpful for kids to break open their piggy banks and count the coins, or help you go through your pockets and sofa cushions and roll those coins!

I am very proud of our fifth grade for stepping up to the many responsibilities they have.  We have noticed better behavior lining up in the morning, and afternoon, as well as at lunch. Many have volunteered to be tutors, and still others are committed to work on the Student Council’s Kindness Committee which is working to raise money to adopt an endangered animal.  You will be hearing more about that in days to come!

Happy February!
Mrs. Lee

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