Sunday, December 9, 2018

Week of December 3

Hi All,

Thank you so much for your help preparing the kids for our trip to Bay Square.  We had almost 100% of our kids wear their shirts!  They were polite, engaged, and represented themselves and our school beautifully.  We even sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with the residents!  We are very proud of them.  We have some great pictures.

Mrs. Conley's classes were able to share their Figuratively Speaking posters with Mrs. Greely's classes.  They had a lot of fun discussing their photos and their figurative language.  They were out of this world!  :-)

We continue to work on the traditional multiplication algorithm.  We are getting better.  This week we multiplied three digit by three digit.  We had a lot of great discussion about why when you multiply by the hundred's place there are zeros in the one's and ten's place. We are really catching on to our base ten number system and how each place value is ten times larger than the place before.

Conversation Starters:

  • Bay Square
  • Senior advice
  • Traditional Method
  • 8th grade visit
Please enjoy the pictures from our adventures this week!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Week of November 26, 2018

Hi All,

Aside from a late start on Tuesday, we had a full week together here at school. 😃  We accomplished so much!  We started this sunny Friday off by taking group pictures with our t-shirts on. These shirts were sponsored by the PTO.  As you will soon see on your child's shirt it reads - Be The Nice Kid on the front and Kindness is a boomerang - it always comes back on the back of the shirt. We will be wearing these to all of our field trips and for special occasions here at school. 

Next Friday, December 7, our team will be visiting with our senior friends at Bay Square, right here in town.  We will leave school at 1:30 and we will return in time for the afternoon buses. If the weather allows us to walk there, we will let you know ahead of time so that you can send in appropriate footwear.  We will also be leaving our building earlier. The bus will drive us back to school. This activity is a part of the Life Role Outcome Responsible and Involved Citizen. All of us will bring the residents a holiday card that we will design in language arts class.  The students will have a few interview questions to ask their new friends. The questions include: Who was your hero?  What words of advice do you have for me? and What was a favorite book of yours when you were my age?  We will write up a reflection about our visit in language arts. This is a very special event and we plan to visit a few times this year. We will also be inviting our Senior Friends to visit us here at HMS.

Thank you for helping discuss how we might interact appropriately with our senior friends. 

Our class read aloud The Liberation of Gabriel King, the main characters attended the bicentennial fireworks in Hallowell, Georgia. The chapter ends in a terrific cliff hanger...What does Mr. Evans whisper to Frita?  I am so very pleased with the amount of reading at night that the students are accomplishing.  I had a few who read over 100 pages this week!  I ordered a few new titles over break and gave books talks about: Unschooled, Aru Sha and The End of Time, The Wondla trilogy, and Pay it Forward ( kid's version). All 3 copies of Unschooled are being 'gobbled up'. 

In language arts we are working on our Figuratively Speaking posters. The students are coming up with some fabulous sentences describing the awesome photos that you sent in. We will be sharing these posters with the students on the 123 and ABC sub team next Friday morning.  It's always fun to see the work of our other classmates.  

In math this week we learned how to multiply using the traditional method.  The first step in this is to compare how the partial products algorithm they have been using for years relates to the traditional method.  So far, so good.  One group has learned how to do a 2 digit by 2 digit problem and the other group will get to it on Monday.  With this lesson kids quickly realize how important it is to know their facts.  

In science this week we held a symposium to discuss the findings from our controlled experiments. Our student scientists designed an experiment to determine if a certain component of their electromagnet could be changed to make the magnet stronger.  Students then conducted their experiments, graphed and analyzed their data, and finally presented their findings.  After all of the results had been shared, students wrote how, given the new information they had, to make the strongest possible electromagnet.  Science at its best!  

One group was able to attempt to build a spinning coil motor today.  It took a lot of perseverance, patience and a willingness to read and follow directions.  Eight of our ten partnerships were able to get it going.  When these motors work they are mesmerizing to watch.

We will be wrapping up our Magnets and Motors unit before the winter break.  Environments are next!  

Conversation starters:
  • traditional method
  • electro-magnet 
  • figuratively speaking
  • be the nice kid
  • purple folders

Friday, November 9, 2018

Week of November 5, 2018

Hi All,

It has been another fabulous week with these great kids!

Thank you to those of you who have signed up to donate items for our "Thankful For Friends" celebration on November 20.  If you haven't yet donated but are interested in helping,  please check out what is still needed here:  Thankful for Friends donation link

In math we have begun unit 2.  Unit two focuses on place value and on multi-digit multiplication and division.  We also learn the traditional method of multiplication in this unit.  Finally, something you remember from your own school days. :-)  This week we discussed that our number system is a base ten number system.  This means we use 10 digits to make our numbers and that each place is ten times bigger than the place before it.  This unit shores up an understanding of magnitude from thousandths through the billions and for many children this unit reinforces how to say the name of a number if is larger than ten thousand or if it has a decimal. 

In science this week we finished up our mini-inquiry with Mrs. Stuhr in the library.  We had many different styles of presentations from a "talk show" to Google presentations.  They were fun.  In science we began designing our controlled experiment to investigate if we can change any of the variables in our electro-magnet to make it stronger.  Stay tuned for our results.

In reading the students learned about onomatopoeia and hyperbole. We defined what both are and took notes in our mini-lesson sections of our Reader's Notebooks.  While silent reading our own selected books, we searched for examples of both.  The students were quite successful!  We read and shared four poems that demonstrate strong hyperbole and today's Friday poem-of-the-week was a poem about Thanksgiving using hyperbole. We wrote our own short poems about Thanksgiving using hyperbole.  I ate a mountain of mashed potatoes. 

The students have been reading and reading and reading! I just love when they ask for more reading time. Some of the popular titles include: Maximum Ride, Wish, Nowhere Boy, and a whole bunch of Watt Key books: Alabama Moon, Hideout, Deep Water, and Terror at Bottle Creek. 

In writing we are practicing punctuating direct quotes and we are learning about strategies to remember how to use and spell words such as it's and its. This week the daily oral language sentences covered some cool facts about tornadoes. For example tornadoes turn counterclockwise north of the equator, clockwise south of the equator, and they don't form within 4 degrees of the equator.

In writing this week the students are just about all wrapped up with their practice narratives.  Some skills we worked on are: slowing down the action, adding internal thinking - thought shots, and giving details using figurative language.  We also used the online thesaurus to help us change our less exciting verbs like walk to more effective verbs such as trudged.

Conversation starters:
He's a couch potato.
Place value
powers of 10

Friday, November 2, 2018

Week of October 29, 2018

Hi All,

We have all survived Halloween and the candy rush that followed :-) Mrs. Conley even had a big, hairy spider show up to join the class in the reading corner!  REALLY!

In language arts we worked on writing two different types of leads to a story about our favorite holidays. ( see chart) We shared the leads together and helped each other decide which lead worked better.   The students will bring a draft of a story to completion next week.  Our Friday poem is "Dinnertime Chorus" that is filled with personification.  The teapot sang as the water boiled.  We worked on writing our own 'Dinnertime Chorus', imagining Thanksgiving dinner.

Our class read aloud contains many new vocabulary words that we have defined and discussed.  We keep our new vocabulary lists from our read alouds and vocabulary words of the week in the Writing About Reading section in our Reader's Notebooks. A few of the new words are: segregate, integrity, justified, oppression, and portent.  This week our main character, Gabe, decides to name his pet spider Jimmy after Jimmy Carter.  Even though Gabe is afraid of spiders, he decides to keep one as a pet so he can overcome his fear of them.

Today we met with our 8th grade buddies for a monster activity.  The students wrote paragraphs about their own 'made up' monsters.  Their 8th grade buddies drew pictures of these monsters from the descriptions written by their 5th grade buddies on their lap tops.  They had fun comparing pictures.

Fourteen paperclips!  We built our first electro-magnet this week and while many students struggled to hold even four paper clips, one student used both ends of the magnet and was able to pick up a record fourteen paper clips.  Our next step will be to design a controlled experiment to try and increase our electromagnet’s strength.  We will investigate the variables that we can change and each group of students will test a different variable.  When we’re done, we will hold a scientific conference to discuss our findings.  

In math this week we were able to finally get our unit 1 assessment in.  One class was also able to go on an adventure with our “friends” at Blue Falls Elementary school, Fizz and Martina.  The other class will get to it on Monday.  This adventure is an animated problem solving simulation that helps children learn how to “talk math”.  We practice solving problems and explaining our thinking.  We even learn to explain our thinking without using numbers!  It’s tough at first, but students quickly adapt to using the language of math.  

Each class voted for October's student of the month.  Kids nominate a classmate and support their nomination with evidence to show how the student has demonstrated some of the important qualities of a good classroom citizen.  Congratulations to October's awardees, Emma Shannon and Erika Fong.

Secret spy words of the week:
  • Croach Head
  • Electro-magnet
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Dinnertime chorus
  • Student of the Month
  • Catching some Zs 

PS: We sent a survey for t-shirt size-explanation in that email.  Please respond as soon as possible, but by the end of the day Monday at the latest.  Thanks!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Week of October 22, 2018

Hi All,

It's been another great week!  We continue to learn what quality work looks like and how to be a quality producer.  We are learning to reread our work for clarity and to check to make sure that our answers make sense.  These are great life long skills to have.

Things continue to rock in math class.  We added an additional challenge choice to our repertoire this week.  We learned how to solve a logic puzzle.  There is a lot of inferencing that goes on and these puzzles really stretch our reading and logical thinking skills. These puzzles are so addictive that some years we've even had parents ask for copies of our puzzles.  :-)  We are finishing up unit 1 and should begin unit 2, which has an emphasis on place value and the traditional multiplication algorithm, next week.

In science this week we continued with our inquiry projects with Mrs. Stuhr and figured out how to make a circuit with a switch to make a light turn on and off.  When we completed our circuit we discovered that putting a compass under one of the wires caused our compass to go wacky.  We determined that flowing electrons create a magnetic field!  We also had an opportunity to watch Bill Nye as he revisited key ideas on magnetism with us.

In reading this week we finished our class novel Animal House and Iz. Iz's mother does end up getting a dog that lives with her at her deluxe town house.  At Dad and Alice's house, Jack is cured of his psittacosis and decides to keep Elvis, his parrot. Logan, Jack, Joey, and Iz learn that their household will be expanding but not with a dog but with a new baby. We had a lot of laughs while we enjoyed the fun story with so many themes that we can relate to.

Our new read aloud takes us back to the 1970's.  The Liberation of Gabriel King. The setting is in Hollowell, Georgia 1976.  As we read there are mini lessons on identifying literary elements.  Class discussions also 'touch' on the many historical aspects such as the election of Jimmy Carter, the Bicentennial, and Watergate. Some of the vocabulary words we work with include: liberation, segregate, integrity, oppression, portent, and waylaid.

Our Daily Oral Language sentences told us about Aesop, so Mrs. Conley read aloud a few of her favorites including The Fox and The Stork, and The Lion and the Mouse. We learn so much grammar and punctuation during these lessons.

In writing we are working on leads. Students are beginning their prompts using action, thought shots, describing the setting, and dialogue. We read aloud a story called Goosebumps that was written by a 5th grader We discussed what elements of the story work well.  We identified the figurative language that was used and hi-lighted the 'showing not telling' that we liked. We also looked at the paragraphing.

Conversation key words:
  • logic puzzle
  • circuit
  • compass/magnetic field
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Andrew Clements book talk
  • alliteration ice cream flavors
  • leads
  • Aesop's fables
  • lollygag

Friday, October 19, 2018

Week of October 15, 2018

Hi All,

We've enjoyed meeting with many of you for conferences this week and we look forward to seeing more of you in the next couple of weeks.  Please remember that your child is invited to this conference.  If you haven't yet filled out the pre-conference survey, it's not too late! Click here to go directly to the survey

We've continued to investigate volume during our math class.  Did you know that approximately 9 1/3 fifth graders can fit into a cubic yard?  It's true.  Students discovered that 27 cubic feet fit into a cubic yard as well.  This was unexpected and bewildering.  Many students initially believe there are 3 cubic feet in a cubic yard since there are 3 feet in a yard.  We will have our first math assessment towards the end of next week as we take a summative look at order of operations, area and volume.

In science this week we reviewed the big concepts we learned in the first half of our magnets and motors unit: opposite poles attract, like poles repel, Earth acts as a large magnet, only metal objects can be magnetic, only nickel, cobalt, and iron can be magnetized. During the second half of the unit we will investigate the relationship between electricity and magnetism.  Initially we will learn how to build a circuit and how to integrate a switch into the circuit.  We will then discover that flowing electrons create a magnetic field.  This is awesome!

We were lucky enough to take part in the first ever Bibliotrek in our library this week.  We were able to choose from many different activities during our trek.  Many students made their own bird journal, several made Samurai family crests using templates and origami paper, and there were many readers happily reading by flashlight on Lumos Lane.  We are grateful to Mrs. Weinrich, Mrs. Stuhr, and Mrs. Castonia for their energy and efforts in creating this activity for us.

We are continuing to write to prompts.  Today the students wrote about a strong emotion. We all thought of strong feelings.  We listed stories of particular times we felt our emotion.  We wrote the beginning of a story today and shared with a partner.

Our Friday poem is about the sun. It has lots of personification in it and it rhymes. (* see the picture below.  ) We all wrote sentences about the sun using personification. :)

In reading we took notes about the setting in our reader's notebooks.  These lessons involve note taking and gluing... in' just the right spot' on the page. :)  There are also fun pictures to color. The setting is where and when a story takes place.  We discussed that sometimes the setting is not directly stated and the reader must make inferences using clues from the text to determine the setting. We will be writing about the setting in our own novels that we are reading and we will look for clues from the text that tell us more about the setting.

Our read aloud, Animal House and Iz had some turns of events for the main character. Guilt covered Iz like a giant cobweb, clinging, smothering.  How will Iz tell her mother that she prefers to live with her dad and step mom?  Will Jack recover from psittacosis that he got from Elvis, the parrot Iz gave him?  Hmm?  The book has lots and lots of figurative language and twists and turns.

Please continue to have your child read the same book at home and at school.  Bringing books back and forth is imperative.  We want to keep those storylines alive.

The fifth and eighth graders collected 455 pounds of food for the Yarmouth Food Pantry.  We are proud of our responsible and involved citizens.

Key words for stimulating dinner table conversation:

  • cubic yard
  • Bibliotrek
  • How Magnets are Made - video
  • psittacosis
  • strong emotion writing
  • the best part about my current book is...

Friday, October 12, 2018

Week of October 9

Hi All,

Thank you to those of you who have responded to our pre-conference survey!  If you haven't yet responded, it's not too late.  We are looking forward to our conference time with you and your child.

We've been working with Mrs. Stuhr, our librarian, on learning research skills.  She is teaching us about the inquiry process.  Working in groups we have connected, wondered and have begun the research phase.  After we have taken notes we will work to create meaning, express, and reflect.

During math this week we built prisms and calculated volume by filling the prisms with centimeter cubes.  This phase of concrete learning should help children move to the abstract phase.  Next, we will use pictures of prisms to calculate volume.  Learning the appropriate unit for volume is always difficult for students.  They are still building their conceptual knowledge of units, square units, and cubic units.  It takes lots of experience to cement this learning.

In science this week we built straw compasses!  It took lots of patience and perseverance, but we did it!  We learned that the north pole of the magnet is attracted to the magnetic south of Earth, which just happens to be in the geographic north.  Wow!

During writing classes this week the students were given strategies for generating personal narrative writing.  We began by thinking about a person who matters to us, then we listed small moment stories about him or her and began writing about one. Next, we listed first times, last times, or times when we realized something and chose one to write about.  Finally, we thought about places that matter to us; we listed small moments that occurred in one of those places, we chose one and wrote about it.

Today in writing classes the students participated in an activity called Table Top Twitter. They read and reacted to examples of settings from pages in the book Charlotte's Web on chart paper.  We worked on adding detail to our own settings.  The Acadian homeroom will do this activity on Monday.

The students enjoyed the story An A from Miss Keller by Patricia Polacco. It that is a true story about Ms. Polacco's teacher who challenged her to write a personal narrative with strong emotion.

The students shared their writing resolutions on a Pear Deck. The goals were perfect and the list from the students
includes: included adding figurative language, learning how to use dialogue, grammar and spelling, and when to start a new paragraphs.

In reading this week we read about magnet and motors from a science magazine.  We took notes from the non fiction reading.  We listed three main facts, new vocabulary words we learned, questions we still had, and we wrote the most interesting thing we learned from the reading.

Our Friday reading classes always begin with a poem.  This week was "The Front Yard Where The Maple Tree Stands" We talked about the poem, the rhyme and rhythm, and the personification in the first stanza.  We brainstormed and shared our favorite fall activities.

Conversation starters:

  • straw compass
  • inquiry project
  • magnetic north
  • prisms and cubic centimeters
  • butterflies in my stomach
  • An A From Miss Keller
  • Writing resolutions