Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Week of January 2nd

Important Dates to Remember: 
  • Thursday, January 3rd: Reading Logs are due. 
  • Tuesday, January 8th: NWEA - Math 
  • Friday,  January 11: Half Day - Dismissal at 11:40
  • Monday, January 21: No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Friday, January 25: Half Day - Dismissal at 11:40 
  • Friday, February 1: Reading Logs are due 
Math: We're just finishing up our Fractions and Decimals unit and we'll be ready for a test on Monday.  We'll be reviewing the rest of the week.  Review sheets will be sent home tomorrow so you can work with your child on the skills they might need help with.  Our next unit is Multiplying larger numbers so knowledge of those facts will really help with this unit!

Report Cards: As you know, report cards were sent home before break.  Our Math program has changed and the district is communicating the following information to parents regarding the grades you might be seeing on your child's report card.  

Farmington Public Schools has adopted the Everyday Math program this year. Everyday Math incorporates distributed learning of the math standards over time.  Because the standards are visited frequently throughout the school year, the level of proficiency toward a standard looks different for teach trimester. Students can still achieve a proficient mark for each trimester based on the mastery expectation at that point in the year. Because each trimester has a different level of mastery, your child's level of proficiency may vary throughout the year as they work toward achieving each standard. 
  • If your child is at a developing (D) for first trimester, the standard will be revisited at some point during the year. 
  • If your child receives a developing (D) or a not yet (N) for first or second trimester, he or she will still have the opportunity to master the standard in third trimester.
Timed Tests Timed tests are going great!  Kids are moving through their facts and I'm so proud of their hard work.  Keep up the great work at home!  It's helping!

Language Arts: In Reading, we'll continue moving through our character unit.  We'll continue working on strategies such as inferring, questioning, predicting, and visualizing as we connect and empathize with our characters.  In our Tiger Rising books, we're talking about different character traits that the characters have as well as supporting them with details and examples from the text.  Next, we'll also be working on some close reading strategies.  In addition, we'll be starting our IST groups late next week.  In our groups, we'll be working on summarizing non-fiction text.

In Writing, we've just started our Opinion unit.  This is a fun unit because kids get to pick a topic that they care about and persuade someone to see their point of view.  We'll take a look at different persuasive letters and talk about whether or not the author has included enough persuasive evidence to persuade their reader. 

Social Studies: In Social Studies, we're moving on to our Geography unit.  We'll start by focusing on continents and oceans and looking at where the United States is in relation to other areas of the world. 

Science: Now that our science kits have arrived, we have officially started our Motion and Deign unit!  In this unit, students explore concepts related to the physics of motion.  Students work in teams to design vehicles using K'Nex rods and connectors that meet certain requirements. This unit is a lot of fun and the kids love it!  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Week of December 3rd

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, November 30th: Half Day - Records Day
  • Monday, December 3rd: Reading Logs Due
  • Friday, December 21st: Winter Vacation begins - end of day 
  • Wednesday, January 2nd: Return to School 
Here's the plan for the next two weeks...

Language Arts:  Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been spending a lot of time reading about what we're learning in Social Studies.  We'll be spending a little more time on inferring and then digging into theme a bit. Inferring is a higher level reading skill and has been easy when guided but can be difficult when kids read on their own.  How can you help at home?  When you're reading with your child at home, point out places where they can infer character emotions based on what they say or do.  I'm sending home a corrected reading assignment in Friday folders this week where kids did a lot of inferring.  We're working really hard and coming a long way!  

In Writing, we'll be wrapping up our Narrative writing soon and writing our final pieces.  Students will be expected to type their writing piece and they will be sharing it with their writing partner next week for some additional help with editing and revising.  We have a Writer's Cafe planned the week we return from Winter Break.  We'll be sipping hot chocolate, eating a snack and listening to students share one of their writing pieces.  They are looking forward to it! 

Math: We're making a lot of growth with our multiplication facts!  Knowledge of these facts have been making our Fractions unit much more manageable.  Keep up the good work here!  We've just started our Fractions unit and it's going quite well.  We tend to slow things down a bit in this unit because the groundwork we lay this year will be very helpful as your child moves to more difficult concepts in 5th grade. If there's anything you can do at home to make fractions more meaningful, please do so.  Cutting up food, talking about what each fractions means and also discussing equivalent fractions will really help a lot!  

Social Studies: We are just about finished with our Government unit.  We have been busy focusing on the purpose, levels, and types of government we have in the United States.  This week, the students participated in a simulation to help them learn more about our 3 branches.  All students were assigned to a different branch of government and were given many scenarios to help them learn more about the responsibilities each branch has and how they check on each other to ensure no branch has too much power.  We will be reviewing next week and the test will take place the week of December 10th.  

Science:  The kids are learning so much with our Magnetism and Electricity unit!  We have been creating electrical circuits using D-cell batteries, wires, light bulbs and small motors.  We recently solved "The String of Lights Problem." Students came up with a solution to the problem of keeping a strand of lights lit, when when bulb goes out by building the circuit in parallel instead a series circuit.  As them to tell you about it!  We are concluding the unit with a final assessment next week. A study guide will come home on Tuesday and the test will be on Thursday.  Our next unit of study is Motion and Design!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Week of November 5th

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Canned Food Drive until November 20th: I will give students money in their bank account for every can they bring in. :) 
  • Tuesday, November 6th: No School - Voting Day 
  • Friday, November 9th: Picture Retake Day
  • November 13th, 14th, 15th: Scholastic Book Fair held during conference time. We will be shopping as a class on November 14th. 
  • Thursday, November 15th: Half Day - Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • Wednesday, November 21, - 23rd: No School - Thanksgiving Break
  • Friday, November 30th: Half Day - Records Day
  • Monday, December 3rd: Reading Logs Due
Multiplication Timed Tests:  Our multiplication timed tests are going quite well!  The kiddos meet about once a week with their multiplication buddies and work on facts that they need for the following week.  On Wednesday, I will be giving the 5's to some kids and 4's to others.  Thanks for your support with this!  The facts have been essential for unit 2 so we're glad to have them in our back pockets! 

Math: We're rolling right along with our Multiplication and Geometry unit.  The important highlights of this unit have been factors, multiples, prime and composite numbers, and characteristics of triangles and quadrilaterals. This week, we'll be wrapping up unit 2 and will be reviewing and gearing up for a test.  Once I have a more firm timeline of the test, we'll write that in our agendas.

Language Arts: In Reading, we'll continue to focus more on types of inferences which focus on small ones like meaning of words to larger ones like inferring theme and character emotions. We have been working together on the rug and I've showed the class how to look for "clues" so they can make a proper inference. Soon, we'll be moving through our character unit and continue inferring traits, emotions, and theme using action and dialogue.  We'll also be using some of our reading time to focus on reading genres.

In writing, we have been working hard on our narrative strategies.  We've been working hard to add transitional phrases to help our writing flow better as we move from one part of the story to the next. The kiddos are also working hard to add sensory details to their writing pieces. This week, we'll begin publishing our current writing piece on the computer so I can begin giving feedback on their strategies.  

Social Studies: Over the last few weeks, we have been discussing the Constitution, Preamble and democracy.  This will set us up nicely for our study of the different levels of government and the 3 branches.  I have some fun activities I will do with the students as we learn about these interesting concepts. 

Science: We just wrapped up our first investigation on magnetism and next, we'll be doing some fun experiments on electricity.  Electricity is always a fan favorite! 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Week of October 22nd

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Friday, October 19th: Half Day 
  • Wednesday, October 31st: Halloween Party 2:15-3:25
  • Thursday, November 1st: Reading Logs are due
  • Tuesday, November 6th: No School - Voting Day 
  • Wednesday, November 21, - 23rd: No School - Thanksgiving Break
  • Friday, November 30th: Half Day - Records Day
Halloween Party: Halloween is fast approaching and we have a committee of parents who have been busy preparing fun activities to do during our party.  The party will take place at 2:15-3:25 on October 31st.  Look for a Sign-Up Genius to come home soon.  Your child may bring their costume to school that day and we'll be putting them on in the afternoon.  Please join us if you're available to come during that time!  We would love to see you!  I believe we still need a few parents to run activities, so if you're interested, please email me.

Language Arts: The kids are doing a great job keeping track of their reading minutes on their Reading Calendar!  I will be collecting these at the beginning of every month.  The goal is to read 30 minutes most nights or 600 minutes a month.  We have many very focused readers here and I'm proud of their hard work in this area! In Reading, we have been working hard to make inferences while we read.  We will be starting reading rotations next week so I'll have more time to dig deeper with small groups of students. This week, we spent time reading short paragraphs, pulling out inferences and supporting our claim with evidence from the reading.

Our spelling tests have been looking really good but I've been noticing the kiddos are not integrating those words into their daily writing.  I've been using some of our writing time to teach sentence structure lessons.  I have been also doing some reteaching and the kids have been going back to fix up some of their work.  I think this will be really helpful as we move through our writing units this year. We're continuing with our Realistic Stories unit.  This week, we worked hard to "hook" or reader with grabbers and we talked about the components of a strong introduction. Next week, we'll start digging a little deeper as we work on organization.  We'll be thinking of the end in mind as we learn the beginning, middle, and end strategy.  Adding details, revising, and editing will also be implemented along the way.

Math: We have started practicing our multiplication facts more regularly and will be taking timed tests once a week.  This week, we took a baseline assessment of all the facts.  I like to give this test early in the year so we can chart our progress and set goals.  As the year progresses, we'll notice these scores improving as we begin to master our facts. This week in Friday folders, you will find your child's baseline assessment and their 2's timed test.  If they received a score of 90% or more, then they should begin studying their 3's.  We'll test every Wednesday.
We have finished up our Place Value unit.  I will be sending home corrected tests next Friday.  We're currently working through our Multiplication and Geometry unit.  Some of the big skills we're focusing on are factors, multiples, and prime and composite numbers.  Quick recall of our multiplication facts are really important in this unit and will make learning these concepts a lot easier.

Social Studies:  We're working through our Government unit in Social Studies.  We started by looking at the Constitution and analyzing the Preamble.  We've been discussing the many rights and freedoms we have because of the constitution. Next week, we'll focus on Democracy and begin looking at the many services our Government provides for us.

Science: The first investigation is all about magnetism.  So far, the students have discovered that magnets stick to objects made from iron or steel.  After they explored how magnets interact with each other, they experimented with induced magnetism and temporary magnets.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Week of October 1st

Hello Parents!

We're settling into our routines nicely and the kiddos are doing great!  Now that these routines are in place and we have established behavioral expectations, we can really start digging into some fun learning!  We're doing an amazing job completing homework at home as well!  Thank you for your help with this! Here's our plan for the next two weeks:

Important Dates to Remember:
  • Wednesday, October 3rd: Picture Day
  • Friday, October 12th:  Fun Run
  • Friday, October 19th:  1/2 Day:  Staff Development
Spelling: Spelling words have been introduced! You may have noticed a Spelling pre-test in last week's Friday folders.  I normally run two spelling groups...a group that focuses on high frequency words and another group that focuses on patterns.  If your child already has many of their high frequency words in place, they will begin in my spelling patterns group.  Keep in my that the groups are flexible and if I notice a particular student doing really well on spelling tests and daily writing, I may move them up to the patterns group. We will receive new words on Monday and we'll test on Friday.

Math:We are rolling right along in the Place Value unit in our Everyday Math program. We have reviewed writing the value of numbers, writing number in word form, expanded form and have also worked on rounding numbers.  A big piece of the Everyday Math program is the spiral piece which means that when a concept is introduced, it will circle back many times before the concept is mastered.  This program also focuses heavily on mental math and the introduction of many different strategies to solve a problem.  One of the things that have been holding us back lately is our math facts including addition, subtraction and multiplication.  I will be sending home corrected timed tests in next week's Friday folders and we'll begin working on our math facts more heavily because as you know, this will really help them as new concepts are introduced.

Language Arts: Over the next two weeks, I'll be incorporating several lessons into Reader's Workshop such as choosing "just right" books, setting reading goals, and keeping our eyes and mind in the book.  During reading time, we'll also be working on fluency.  I'll be introducing a fun fluency activity called Fluency 1,000 which takes about 5 minutes but really helps with word accuracy skills. We also started discussing two important reading strategies...making connections and inferring. We've talked about how making meaningful connections helps us understand how characters feel and helps us to understand the story better.  I've also started assessing students to determine their Fountas and Pinnell reading level.

In the area of writing, we have been working to identify fragments and run-on sentences. This will help us as we get more into our writing units. The first writing unit is called Launching with Realistic Fiction.  In the next few weeks, we'll be focusing on important parts of our narrative writing piece such as how to organize our writing piece, adding a catchy grabber, developing a strong introduction, and we'll also be using a story mountain to ensure we have included all parts of our story. 

Social Studies: Our first unit in Social Studies will focus on the United States Government. We'll begin by talking about the purpose of government and the many services the government provides us with. There are many tricky vocabulary words associated with this unit so I'll be adding some fun activities to help the kids understand the concepts better. 

Science: We will also begin switching for Science and Social Studies and Mrs. Lindenberg will be teaching the Science curriculum this year. The first unit focuses on Electricity and Magnetism. We will actually be making electrical circuits using D-cell batteries.  It's a very fun, interactive unit so we're all looking forward to it!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Week of September 17th

Hello Parents!

Thank you for visiting our classroom blog!  This will be a great resource for you so you can hear about all of the things that we're learning in our room.  I typically update the blog every 2-3 weeks and I will always send out an email (typically on Friday) to let you know it's been updated with new curriculum.  As you look around, you'll notice there is a calendar for the year.  I've noted half days and breaks on the calendar and will also be noting upcoming tests and quizzes.  There is an area where I will list the homework just in case your child has forgotten to circle their homework that day.  You will also have access to the Math homework (home links) just in case your child accidentally misplaces it and needs another copy.

Homework has been going quite smoothly.  The kiddos are doing an amazing job managing their materials and bringing back their homework the next day.  Thanks so much for your help with this!  Your hard work shows!  I'll continue assigning homework Monday through Thursday and will try to reserve Friday for time to catch up on things.

Reading:  Please try to remind your child to read each night.  It really helps build those reading skills. In the month of September, we do not have a formal reading log but I will begin to assign those in October so we can keep track of our minutes.

NWEA:  We were experiencing some connectivity problems with the NWEA today so we'll resume testing next week.  I'll plan on finishing our Reading portion on Monday and we'll be doing Math on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Next Friday is our first half day.  Dismissal is at 11:40.

If you were unable to make Curriculum Night last night, I have placed the packet in your child's Friday folder.  Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.