Thursday, September 30, 2010

NECAPS Are Starting

We will be staring NECAP(replaces the old MEAs) testing on Monday, October 4th. All tests will be given in the morning and students will take one test per day,every day except for Wednesdays. Testing will continue until October 19th. Please make sure your child is well rested so they can perform to their fullest.

State Plates are the project students are completing as homework to conclude our brief mini unit on the Five themes of Geography. Projects are due Wednesday, Oct. 6th. All students were given a rubric which describes requirements for the project as well as how it will be graded. Please review the project using the rubric as a guide prior to your child passing it in on Wednesday. Our next unit will be the introdution of ancient civilizations. Next week we will do hands on activities to simulate the ways people worked together to provide themselves with basic needs of food and shelter.

Ask your child about the "toy box stations" they have been working with in science. Mrs. Farnsworth has told me they are having a lot of fun and applying their energy knowledge as well!

Book Talks have begun for students in my Reading class. Fridays four students will present a book talk on a book of their choosing. Students are given a rubric(descriptor of elements that should be included) a week before their assigned book talk. They may take notes on index cards to use during their presentation and they should practice prior to presenting in class. book talks will be recorded using a flip video camera so students may do a self assessment of themselves.

Chewing gum is allowed in class(except music) as it has proven to help students focus as well as relax during academic instruction. However, students need to provide their own sugar free gum. Some students are asking me or their classmates for gum on a daily basis and I have told students after this week they need to provide their own gum in fairness to me and their classmates. Please discuss this issue with your child .

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harvest Lunch A Big Hit!!

On Thursday students were treated to a delicious lunch made from Maine products. Students in each grade helped with the food preparation in some way. Our class had the task of husking corn. As children husked the corn they solved oral math problems related to the task. We have great thinkers in fifth grade !

The students that have me as their ELA teacher started their first narrative piece this week. They were given the choice of two prompts, "My Dream Vacation" or "My Favorite Vacation." The steps of the writing process are followed with their writing piece. Students began by brainstorming events and organizing them on a graphic(visual) organizer. Next we had a lesson on writing leads. I wrote and shared four different leads to model different strategies authors use. Students were then asked to rate each lead as weak or strong and to explain their reasoning. All students then wrote their lead for their story and shared it with a peer for feedback. I was pleased to notice all students giving and receiving helpful and thoughtful suggestions in a positive manner. We all learn so muchfrom each other by sharing our ideas and thinking.
Weekly letters are due on Thursdays for fifth graders and Wednesday for sixth graders. Students were given a descriptor of letter requirements and an explanation of the grading system for letters. Students should look at these befoe they pass their weekly letter in to make sure they have met the requirements.
Students are using research skills to find specific information about a state of their choice. Our class discussion prior to individuals researching included identifying text features and how they are used of nonfiction books(headings, index, captions,etc.). Their information will be used to complete a visual project.
The first week of October marks the beginning of NECAP testing( replaces teh MEAs). Tests will be given in the mornings and only one test a day will be given. Please make sure your child is well rested so he/she will be well prepared to perform to her/his ability. The NECAP testing continues through October 19.
Reminder: Open House is Tuesday at 5:30. I hope to see you !

Friday, September 10, 2010

Second Week of School

We have started to settle in this week and students have been very responsible for returning their completed homework on time. A great way to start the school year!
In math we are practicing multiplication facts and writing number models for rectangular arrays. If your child is a little "fuzzy" with some facts please practice with him/her a few minutes each night. Memorizaton of basic facts is the foundation for many skills we will be working on this year.
This week students I have for reading have been reviewing types of genres and their individual characteristics. Next week students will be working in literature groups with the common theme of outdoor survival using  different realistic fiction novels. Every Thursday my reading/writing students need to pass in a friendly letter written in their Reading Response Journal. The topic of the letter should be about a book he/she is reading for self selection. The Reading Response Journal has a specials section for letters and includes the friendly letter format as well as  prompts.
This week students reviewed the parts of maps and types of maps in social studies. Students were assigned a current event to read and a paper to complete. We practiced this assignment with a current event about solar panels so students are familiar with what is expected. I am bringing my newpapers into the classroom so if you do not purchase newspaers your child may take one from the classroom to use for hi/her assignment. This assignment is due on Friday, Sept. 17th.
The fifth and sixth grade had a presentation today from MEEP(Maine Energy Education program) to kick off their first unit of study, Energy. Students participated in three hands on activities: apple battery, wind turbines and solar fans.  MEEP will return next Friday for one more hands on presentation.
As you can see we have had a very busy and productive week.  I know I am going home at the end of the day tired so I am sure your child is tired as well. Please make sure he/she is getting plenty of sleep as being well rested helps keep one focused and performing to his/her maximum best.
Have a great weekend!