I hope you have been enjoying this nice fall weather. With November right around the corner I wanted to let you know of a few upcoming events for our fifth graders, as well as fill you in on what we’ve been doing.
This Thursday, Nov. 2nd the class will walk to Thetford Academy to work with Chris Schmidt, their design and technology shop instructor. He will teach us about Sketchup, an online design program. Students will use TA computers to explore the program and draft the class design of our stand for Hoover’s habitat (class pet lizard). They will then get a laser demonstration and a tour of the shop and tools. Please Note: We will be off TES campus from 9:30-11:00 this Thursday morning.
The following week Mr. Schmidt will visit our classroom to share our digital design and revise it with the class. Our class will figure out the materials list, other than the TES elm wood that will be used. In January one of his high school classes will construct the stand. Upon completion we will be going back to TA in small groups over the course of several days to stain and polyurethane the unit.We are fortunate that Mr. Schmidt is collaborating with us on this project and I think the students will really enjoy the process.
Next Monday, Nov. 6th (or rain date of Tuesday, Nov. 7th) we will be hiking with Mr. Bugg. We will walk down the trail to TA and then up the cross country trail to the new marked section TA students built over the summer. This goes up to the top of Thetford Hill State Park, where we will check out a new nature trail and the yurt being built there. I’m looking forward to becoming more familiar with outdoor opportunities right outside of the TES backyard! Please note: We will be leaving the classroom at 8:30 and returning at 10:00.
Our class will have an upcoming visit by Nick Reo and Maurice Crandall, two parents who bring a wealth of knowledge on Native American culture. This contribution to our study of Native American regions will be very helpful as students are preparing to draft their reports. I will be back in touch with more information on the content of their presentation and the timing of their visit.
It is always powerful when we are able to learn from experts in our community. Thank you to Chris Schmidt, Mr. Bugg (Thomas’ dad), Nick Reo (Oscar’s dad) and Maurice Crandall (Ira’s dad) for donating their time and expertise for the benefit of new learning for our class!
What We’ve Been Up To:
We had a beautiful day for Hike For Hunger last Friday! The food collection boxes in the lobby will remain until the end of the week, so feel free to send in a donation if you have not yet done so.
Reading Logs: If your child is finding these a beneficial way to track his/her reading, then he or she may choose to continue with the blue log in the home/school folder. However, it is no longer an expectation. We have found that although it is a way to hold all students accountable for their reading, we will monitor student reading here at school in various ways; such as one on one conferences and student Book Review cards to use as a class reference. We do expect that fifth graders are reading at home every day and want to recognize the importance of that. Whether or not your child continues with the log is a choice.
Class Buddies: This year our buddy class is Mrs. Hill’s first/second grade. Each younger student is matched with one or two fifth graders. A couple of weeks ago we read a favorite fall book together, Leaf Man, and then went on a walk to collect natural treasures for creating collages. Tomorrow we will get together to share some favorite Halloween books.
Math: Students have spent their math time with Ms. Harrington working with our base-ten place value system. They have been exploring the system’s patterns by using Digi-blocks, a manipulative that supports students to see the relationships among the different places (100s,10s,1s, down into the hundredths). Then they moved on to learning about exponents and expanded notation. The focus of all of this work gives students lots of opportunities to talk about numbers, show their work and talk with friends about their math thinking.
Writing for Understanding: Classes have completed several small moment narratives and will revisit this genre again later in the year, or as individuals choose if they have completed other assigned pieces. We are currently wrapping up our research of Native American regions and how the environment affected early civilizations. Students are working in their research groups to create regional models. Each group member is responsible for making items from their topic that they are becoming an expert on (food, clothing, housing, arts and crafts, or religion/beliefs and ceremonies) to contribute to the model. They will work together to create the environment. We are looking forward to a visit from Nick and Maurice, as mentioned earlier. This unit will conclude with individual informative essays.
Word Study: Students from both fifth grade classes are divided into spelling groups. Every week each group focuses on a particular spelling pattern or idea. Students receive a lesson about the spelling feature at the beginning of the week and then review that idea through a series of practice activities throughout the week. Each group is quizzed every Friday, and these quizzes go home for you to view. Groups often change as the year goes on, as we do our best to teach each student what he/she is ready to learn next about how words work.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification about anything mentioned in this letter. I look forward to seeing you soon for Parent-Teacher conferences. If you have not scheduled a meeting time yet, please contact me as soon as possible so we can do so.