Welcome to the first week of February! How is next Friday already Valentine’s Day? A big thank you to all who are sending in snacks or treats for our upcoming party. All parents are welcome to join us starting at 2 p.m. for the Valentine festivities. We will be sending home our most recent class list with the students tomorrow in case they would like to make or bring Valentines for their classmates. We ask that if your child is planning to bring in cards or treats, they bring enough for everyone. We currently have 26 fifth grade students.
BIG NEWS! Please be sure to put April 23 and 24 on your calendar. These are the dates of our fifth grade overnight field trip. We will head to Richmond and Williamsburg on Thursday, then back to Richmond on Friday. More information will be coming soon, but we wanted to be sure to get the date posted. We are VERY excited to be going on this trip in April rather than in March like previous years. Hopefully, the weather will be much more comfortable, and, as an added bonus, Maymont will likely be even more beautiful at this time of year!
Here is what’s going on in our core classes this week:
Language Arts: Rather than progress onto the next section of our Spinelli novels, we used this week as an opportunity to hone our skills and comfort with using RACE when answering questions about our novels. After using a rubric to self-evaluate how well each of the students were using the RACE approach, nearly every student found that they could have been far more successful in their attempts, especially when it came to using evidence from the text and explaining how the evidence helps answer the question. So, rather than trudge ahead, we used this week as a mulligan to help further our understanding. With the comprehension questions due by the end of the day tomorrow, each student will reevaluate their progress with last week’s rubric to guarantee they’re on the right path.
Additionally, due to a mistake that occurred on the vocab quizzes last week, the students retook the corrected quiz, albeit through a different format. With the previous version, they matched the vocabulary with the definition provided. This time around (and likely for the future), the students will utilize a word bank to complete a series of sentences that make use of each of the words. Not only does this approach require the student to know the definitions, but it also familiarizes them with the way in which these words are used (as well as their usual contexts). In a quick poll, nearly all of the students were favorable about this amended approach.
Math: In math this week, we continued to practice adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers with regrouping. Many students are struggling to use fractions and decimals within word problems. This is not a surprise, as students have a difficult time with word problems in general through all grade levels. We will continue to work on this skill in every unit, as we have all year. We are currently preparing for a test on Tuesday. In your child’s binder, you should find a plastic sheet with all of their quiz scores for each of the sections that will be on Tuesday’s test. If your child does not yet have a percentage score for a specific section (with the exception of comparing and ordering fractions), then that means the have not developed their understanding of this concept enough for me to take the a quiz grade yet.
A small handful of students have mastered all of the basic concepts of fractions as well as the addition and subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers, including those in word problems. During workshop times, these students have been working together to start making the connection between fractions, decimals, and percents.
History: This week, we’ve been learning about the waves of immigration seen in the United States between the 1880s and the 1920s. To aid in our discoveries and discussions, the students have been engaging with a variety of sources and activities, such as making inferences based on photos of various immigrant families and a virtual tour/scavenger hunt of Ellis Island.
As the students have worked together through these lessons, they’ve learned about the harsh travelling conditions, the reasons why a family would make the journey to America during this time, and some of the challenges these migrants might face in their new lives. Much of what is learned here will serve as a foundation for our subsequent units, particularly Westward Expansion and the Industrial Revolution.
Science: In science this week, we have been building on what students already know about our circulatory systems. Each student is creating their own book of “sketch notes”. These notes include how blood, blood vessels, and the heart work with the rest of the circulatory system. We will create a model of the components of blood, and use tennis balls to help students get an idea of how much force it takes to squeeze blood out of the heart. As we continue these investigations into next week, we will wrap up by seeing how the circulatory system works with the rest of the body systems.
As always, please know that we welcome you to contact us should you have any questions or concerns. We would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss our goals and objectives for this year.
Have a great week!
Kimberly & Tim