Writers’ Tea

You are invited to a  Writers’ Tea:

When: Wednesday, June 13th from 2:00-3:00 pm

Where: TES fifth grade classrooms

Why: To celebrate students’ independent study projects. Work will be displayed in a “fair” style format and students will stand by their projects to read reports and talk about their topics.

What to bring: Tea will be provided, and if families could bring a baked good or finger-food snack to accompany the tea, that would be great.

Please contact Ms. Kendall or Mrs. Harrington with any questions.

Hope to see you there!


Home Stretch!

We are in the home stretch! These next two weeks are going to fly by, and summer vacation will be here before we know it!

During this next-to-last week of school, we are going to try to keep things pretty normal, believe it or not. In Math, we are enjoying our second unit from the Bridges program, this time focused on graphing, geometry, and volume. In our recent lessons, students built, explored, and graphed several growth patterns modeled with cubes and tiles. These have been mostly patterns of linear growth, but we’ve had some exposure to exponential growth as well. Many students  have also accepted the challenge of deriving algebraic formulas for these patterns. It’s been fun to watch their excitement as they use the variable “x,” along with numbers, to show their math thinking! In this coming week, we’ll shift our attention to 2D geometry, classifying polygons based on their attributes.

In Writing for Understanding, students are finishing off the year with Independent Study projects. Each student has selected a topic of interest to research, and they’ll be sharing their learning through written reports. Time permitting, they will also create a visual representation using media of their choice; options include posters, dioramas, sculptures, models, puppets, slideshows and videos. We should also have time to work through our normal paragraph-editing routine this week, with a dictation on Friday.

We are enjoying our final read aloud, Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton. Reading this thought provoking novel in verse that is set in Vermont has been a nice way to wrap up class reading.  Fifth graders have had quite a bit of independent reading time in class lately, and this will continue through the end of the year. They are being challenged to see if they can finish at least one more book before we head off for summer vacation.

We also have a couple of special events scheduled for this week. On Tuesday, Cat Buxton will join our class as we plant our classroom seedlings in the school garden beds. Fifth graders selected and ordered the specific varieties of vegetables they thought should grow in these beds, and it’s time to let these plants enjoy the summer sun. We’ll also be direct-seeding some crops that didn’t require a head-start inside under the grow-lights. And on Friday, TES will come together for our annual Field Day festivities. Please remind your child to dress appropriately for both of these outdoor activities this week.

The 5th grade is scheduled to go to Treasure Island on Thursday, June 14th. A permission slip for this trip will go home with students today. Please sign and return this form to school by the end of the week. Thank you!

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!