Boston Field Trip Update & Itinerary

Dear Families,

Preparations for our Boston trip are well underway! A paper permission slip for the trip is being sent home with students today. Please return your child(ren)’s permission slip no later than next Friday, May 4th.

If you are interested in chaperoning, we want to make sure you have plenty of time to prepare. We will probably have more people interested in chaperoning than we are able to fit on the coach bus, so we will likely need to draw names out of a hat to decide who will come with us. Please take a look at the itinerary below as you decide whether you’d like to volunteer.

7:00 Students arrive at TES

7:15 Coach bus departs TES

9:45 Arrive at Bunker Hill National Monument

10:00 Ranger Presentation

10:15 Students climb Bunker Hill Monument (in two groups)

10:45 Visit Bunker Hill Museum

11:30 Water taxi ride to Boston

12:00 Lunch at Quincy Market

1:00   Freedom Trail walk to Boston Common

  • Boston Massacre Site

  • Old State House

  • Old South Meeting House

  • Granary Burying Ground

  • Boston Common

2:00 Bus from Boston Common to Boston Museum of Science

5:00 Bus departs Boston Museum of Science

7:30 Bus arrives at TES

If you are interested in chaperoning, please email to let us know by next Friday, May 4th. We will confirm the list of chaperones by Friday of the following week (5/11).

Finally, we are sure you and your child have lots of questions about the day we have planned. A detailed letter explaining the logistics, expectations, and guidelines for the trip will also go out on Friday, May 18th.
Ms. Kendall and Ms. Harrington

Field Trip!

The fifth grade is going to Boston!

We’re still working out some details, but we wanted to bring you up to date on our plans so far.

Our trip is scheduled for Friday, June 1. The itinerary includes stops at the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum, Quincy Market, and the Boston Museum of Science, as well as a walk on the Freedom Trail and a ride on the Charlestown Ferry. We will depart from Thetford before the official school day starts, and arrive home in the evening.  We are hopeful that some of you will want to join us as chaperones!

The Boston trip has been a 6th grade privilege for the last several years, but this may change in the future because of shifting curricular goals. Boston’s numerous historical sites make it a good fit for our 5th grade curriculum, and we’re excited to share these sites with our students this year.

We will be sending out more information, including a detailed itinerary and chaperone request next week. Mark your calendars in the meantime!

Newsletter, 4/10

Our Microscopes and Cells unit was a great success. Using microscopes we borrowed from the Montshire museum, students were able to look at prepared slides of insects and plants, as well as slides they prepared of their own cheek cells, onion cells, and other plant tissues. We also learned how to extract DNA from strawberries! A highlight of this unit was our trip to the Dartmouth Life Sciences Building, where we toured the rooftop greenhouse and were guided in the use of more sophisticated microscopes than the ones we used in the classroom. During our visit, students learned about cell reproduction as well as fluorescence microscopy, and were able to practice building composite photographs using the cameras and laptops connected to the microscopes.

Our work in Math has shifted from adding and subtracting fractions to multiplying and dividing them. We are using materials from a new program, Bridges, to help us with this new phase in our learning. For many students, multiplying and dividing fractions can be easier than adding and subtracting them, but keeping track of when to use which operation can be tricky. Fifth graders also need to adjust their existing ideas that multiplication should result in a product larger than the factors that were multiplied, and division should produce a smaller quotient than the dividend or divisor.I have been impressed with how quickly most students have been able to make these conceptual leaps! We started this new unit by learning about multiplying whole numbers by fractions and have recently switched to multiplying fractions by fractions. We are building our understanding of these concepts through games as well as physical models and drawings.

In Writing for Understanding, students recently completed a project in which they “translated” the Declaration of Independence into fifth-grade-friendly language. Students worked in pairs and small groups to translate short portions of this document. The class then created a film of themselves reading these portions out loud. They did a wonderful job bringing this important document to life! More recently, students have been reading historical novels set in the Revolutionary period to help get a sense of what life was like for regular people back then, as well as build their understanding of the perspectives of various groups of people during this time. They have been keeping track of their learning in a “Historical Fiction Journal.” They will incorporate some of this learning, along with upcoming nonfiction research, into essays they will write after the April break.

Conferences are coming up this week, and I am looking forward to meeting with you to discuss your child’s progress in 5th grade. Students are welcome to join us for some or all of these meetings; their level of participation is up to you. See you soon!

March Update

March is “marching by” as we continue our learning in fifth grade:

In science we kicked off our Microscopy unit with a visit from Amy and Tom from the Montshire Museum on Tuesday. They brought fifteen microscopes to our classrooms, introduced microscope care and use, and provided a collection of slides for our exploration. We were all very excited to see how interesting various insect parts are! We will be looking closely at our own cheek cells, plant parts, onion cells and other objects of interest next week. Students will make scientific drawings and log their observations. Next Friday we will go on a field trip to the Life Sciences Center at Dartmouth College to learn in a microscopy lab and explore the rooftop greenhouse. Your child will be bringing home a permission slip today.

In Writing For Understanding class, students have worked with partners or small groups to create a slideshow about their “Prelude to the Revolution” event. These partner/small group slideshows were consolidated into a whole class project. We are looking forward to presenting and having students learn from each other as each small group or partnership walks us through their slides. Next week we will work on a Declaration of Independence translation project and then move into reading groups to read and discuss various historical fiction novels based in this time frame.

Our focus in math for the past weeks has been on adding and subtracting fractions, including those with unlike denominators. As they learn and practice this skill, students are also developing their conceptual understanding through visual models, including number lines and rectangle models. If you want to check on your own child’s understanding, you might ask him or her to show you what 1/2 + 1/3 looks like, for example, or 2/3 – 3/5. As we approach the end of this unit, the goal is for all students to be able to show their thinking on these kinds of problems using numbers, pictures, and words. We have recently shifted to using a “menu” during class to help students organize their time. Each Monday, students get a list of activities that should be completed at some point during the week. If they finish these requirements before Friday, they can choose from a list of optional activities including challenge problems and games. Most students seem to be enjoying this structure, and our time has felt lively with a variety of math work going on around the room. We’ll move on to learning about multiplying fractions soon!
Extra: Class snack items needed. With the change of season, busy extra-curricular activities and additional in-school opportunities (the musical, Maker Lab, Mud Season Madness), students have been especially appreciative of afternoon snacks. If you would like to donate any non-perishable items to our class snack shelf, please send snacks in with your child or drop them off any time you are in the building. Animal crackers, goldfish, popcorn for our air popper, dried fruit or cheese sticks are a few ideas. Thank you.
Have a nice weekend!

February Update

Enjoy your winter break!!

It has been a busy February in fifth grade so far:

The Science Fair this week was a great success. In the weeks leading up to the big event, students thought of scientific questions they could answer through experiments, and then committed to taking on one question and experiment to share at the fair. It was a wonderful culmination to our units on chemistry and heat; students applied what they had learned to their own experiments, and were proud to share their work with the school community on Tuesday. We’ll switch gears and learn about microscopes and cells after the break.

Our “workshop”-style math class has been working well for the last couple of weeks. Students have been moving through a variety of tasks at their own pace, sometimes independently, and sometimes in partnerships or small groups. Our work has been focused on fractions, with students working through ideas having to do with visual models, equivalent fractions, and adding and subtracting fractions with like and unlike denominators. Some students are also working through a collection of challenge problems in between their other assignments. When we get back from the break, we’ll expand the workshop model to include some games and projects in a menu of options from which students can choose throughout the week. Some activities on the list will be requirements, others will be optional, and students will have some choice about when and how they complete their work during the week.

Writing For Understanding: Classes have recently discussed The Boston Massacre and analyzed various depictions of the event. We have also read from multiple sources about the battles of Lexington and Concord and are comparing our research to Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride. When we return from February break students will work with partners to research specific events and important people that impacted the road to the Revolutionary War. Partners will design a slide for their topic and we will compile class slide shows to share our findings. Upon completion of this Prelude to the Revolution project, students will select a book from this era and we will hold small group book studies. Students will read and reflect on various texts and then choose a format to share with the whole class. We are continuing with our class read aloud, Chains, and will conclude this unit with an opinion piece.

Extras:      We had a fun Valentines Day class celebration, and also spent some time with our Buddy Class weaving paper heart baskets. It’s always nice to watch the older and younger students interact; helping each other and learning more about others’ interests.

                  Our class bunnies, Ollie and Ari, have settled in well. The students are really enjoying their company and have been great about taking on the responsibility of caring for them. Our Lagomorph* friends have been a positive, fun addition to our class. Thank you to Liam and his family for hosting “house guests” over vacation.
*they are not in the rodent family…