Happy Holidays

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday! We had a nice wrap up before break at school. Here are some highlights from the last few weeks, and some insight into what we will be doing upon our return:

We have spent much of our math time in 5th grade focused on the base-10 place value system, but in the last few weeks we have transitioned to thinking about fractions. We started by building fractions with paper strips, and discussing the meaning of the numerator and the denominator. We then applied this understanding to an extended word problem in which students needed to estimate the size of illustrated fractions, and multiply those fractions by different wholes. Students moved flexibly between visual models, story problems, and numerical representations, which is exactly what they need to be able to do when working with fractions (or any other mathematical idea).  Much of our work so far has been a review of concepts and skills students encountered in 4th grade, and this will lay a solid foundation for the work we will do with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions when we get back from the break. Fractions, and all the concepts that go with them, are one of the “big ideas” of 5th grade mathematics; students will be learning a lot in the months to come!

We have wrapped up our first big science unit on Mixtures, Solutions, and Chemical Reactions. In these last weeks, students learned to compare the concentration of different solutions, and conducted several experiments to help them learn about chemical reactions. They learned to identify some common signs of chemical reactions, as well as the concept that chemical reactions result in the formation of a new material. We will start a new unit on Heat Energy when we get back from the break. In February, students will have an opportunity to explore some of the ideas from both units in more depth through their own experiments for the Science Fair.

Our learning about Colonial America has included mapping activities, brief research on the 13 Colonies, and we are currently choosing trades to research. Students are making signs to represent their selected trade and after break they will write perspective letters as a tradesperson to their family back in their country of origin.

We have reassessed our word study program and will be taking a break from spelling quizzes to incorporate daily paragraph editing into our weekly routine. Every day students will edit a paragraph and we will correct it together as a warm up to writing time. At the end of the week students will be given a dictation from previous work to write as an assessment. The goal is that as students become more familiar with and adept at this, we will see these skills transfer to their own independent writing.

Our class is looking forward to Mr. Schmidt returning to TES with the parts to our stand that TA students made. We will assemble them together in our classroom and move Hoover to his new area! Thanks again to Chris Schmidt and his students for taking on this project with us. It has been an engaging learning experience!

Also, a belated thank you to all who brought food for our Writers’ Breakfast. Your  interest in student work and feedback were great contributions!

We had a nice time yesterday with our buddy class making ornaments out of pinecones. Today we celebrated the holiday season by sharing Secret Santa gifts. Students were very thoughtful and appreciative. It was a lovely way to end 2017 together.

Enjoy the break and we’ll see you in 2018!

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