Classroom Update - March 10, 2017
Snow days anyone?! I’m seeing a big snowflake on my weather app for Monday and Tuesday. Who else is excited? While you are doing the snow dance and flushing ice cubes down the toilet, you can read about all the things we are currently learning in our room.
Reading – In 2 weeks we will be finishing our unit on drawing conclusions in nonfiction narratives and fictional texts. Our unit test is tentatively set for Friday, March 24th. We have been working on drawing conclusions while highlight at least 2 details that support it across a variety of text. Our next and FINAL unit of the school year is “How Do You Know? Using Evidence from Text”. In this unit the following skills and strategies will be learned:
- Read and demonstrate comprehension from nonfiction texts
- Identify structural patterns found in nonfiction
- Locate information to support opinions, predictions, and conclusions
- Identify cause and effect relationships following transition words signaling patterns
- Differentiate between fact and opinion
Emphasis will be put on these skills as well: determine importance, summarize/synthesize, and make inferences.
Writing – We are finish our unit on persuasive writing. We had fun looking at commercials from Superbowls and examining how they try to persuade people to buy their products. They will end this unit by writing a persuasive essay on a topic of their choosing. Our next unit that will coincide with the next reading unit will be “Research Writing”. They will evaluate and select appropriate resources, including technology, to conduct research and develop notes as a means of supporting their writing with opportunities for daily writing.
Math – We are in the middle of our 3-week geometry unit. In this unit they will need to be able to do the following:
- Identify and describe the diameter, radius, chord, and circumference of a circle
- Measure right, acute, obtuse, and straight angles
- Classify angles are right, acute, obtuse, or straight
- Classify triangles as right, acute, obtuse, equilateral, scalene, or isosceles
- Develop definitions of square, rectangle, triangle, parallelogram, rhombus, and trapezoid
- Investigate and describe the results of combining and subdividing plane figures (above)
Science – We are currently in our “Sound” unit. They will need to know the following by the end of this unit:
- Investigate and understand how sound is created and transmitted, and how it is used
- Compression waves
- Vibration, compression, wavelength, frequency, amplitude
- The ability of different media (solids, liquids, and gases) to transmit sound
- Uses and applications of sound waves
Social Studies – We are completing our West unit today. The culminating project is a “West Movie Trailer” that highlights attributes of a state that they were given. This is being completed in school through the Movie Maker program. It will be due by Friday, March 17th. On Monday, March 13th we will be starting our unit on Canada. We will study the same features of Canada that we have in each of the regions in the U.S. (physical and water features, economic activities, natural resources, culture, landmarks, events, etc.). This will be a 3 week unit and then we will move onto Mexico for 3 weeks.
Math Boot Camp – This will start next Friday, March 17th. It will be every Friday (except for the 2 Fridays over spring break) and end on Friday, May 12th. There is a Sign-Up Genius on my “Useful Links” page if you would like to send in breakfast foods for the class. This is completely optional. We are ONLY doing test taking strategies for math and reviewing released math SOL material.
Interims – Interims go home next week. You keep one copy and sign one to send back in with your child. If you would like a conference (or e-mail, phone, etc.), please let me know and I will be happy to help.
March Madness Brackets – As a class we are participating in “Mulcahy’s March Madness”. I am doing a CBS Sports brackets challenge for the Men’s College Basketball playoffs. If you or your child would like to participate, just for fun, there is a link under “Useful Links” to join. Brackets must be completed by Wednesday morning. You and your family are welcome to participate as well if you would like. Let’s have some fun!
Beginning on Friday, March 17, I will be offering extra Math help each Friday morning from 7:30-8:15. During this time, we will review concepts we have already learned, and we will also focus on released SOL questions, in preparation for the Math SOL.
If you are planning on sending your child at 7:30 on Friday mornings, please make sure they are coming to school prepared to learn. This extra time is beneficial to anyone who wishes to seek out extra help, however it is not social time or time to work on other school work.
If you would like your child to attend these extra Math sessions on Thursday mornings, please send me an email so I can get an idea of the amount of materials I will need. This session is not a requirement, however for some, every extra bit of practice helps. It is not required that your child attend every session if they sign up.
One way to make the early morning more bearable for some students is providing a snack. I’ve created a sign up genius in order to ensure that we only have one snack each morning. You can sign up for a specific morning if you wish to help out. Store bought items are preferred. Please make sure ingredients are included for any food item as we have a variety of allergies in our classroom. Hopefully we have a good turn out this year! Last year it was about 24 students each session.
There is a link in "Useful Links" to sign up for breakfast foods for our bootcamp. Thank you!
Classroom Update – February
Reading – We are finishing up our unit “What’s It All About?” This unit focused on analyzing nonfiction
text to compare and contrast, identify main idea, provide text evidence to
identify new information gained from reading, comprehend and categorize
information (both print and digital), summarize and synthesize, and use structural
patterns. There will also be an emphasis
on summarizing, determining importance, and monitoring. The unit test will be on Thursday,
Our next unit, unit 5, will be “Read Between the Lines”. In this unit students will think more deeply
about their reading by inferencing, applying background knowledge, drawing
conclusions and seeking details in order to derive meaning from text. Things they will be able to do at the end of
the unit involving comprehension of fictional text, narrative nonfiction, and
and ask questions that clarify various points of view
supporting details from text
conclusions and make inferences from text
and effect relationships
confirms and revise predictions
Writing – We will be starting our unit on
persuasive writing next week. We will be
able to construct questions about a topic, collect information from multiple
sources (including online, print, and media), and use technology to research
material. They will express their
opinions and perspectives with daily opportunities to engage in writing.
Math - We are
finishing our unit on Fraction Computation.
They should be able to solve single-step and
multi-step practical problems involving addition and subtraction
With fractions and mixed numbers and express
answers in simplest form. They will be able to:
single-step and multi-step practical problems involving addition and
subtraction with fractions having like and unlike denominators.
Denominators in the problems should be limited to 12 or less (e.g. 1/5 +
1/4) and answers should be expressed in simplest form.
Solve single-step and multi-step
practical problems involving addition and subtraction with mixed numbers
having like and unlike denominators, with and without regrouping.
Denominators in the problems should be limited to 12 or less, and answers
should be expressed in simplest form.
Our next unit will be decimal computation. They will need to be able to find the sum,
difference, quotient, and product of decimals out to the thousandths place
Science – We started our unit on Matter
this week. A matter project template is
coming home tomorrow, Friday. This will
not be due until the end of February.
This is a 4 week unit and they will know the following by the end:
Properties and phases of each type of matter
How temperature effects phases of matter
Atoms and elements
Molecules and compounds
Mixtures including solutions
– We finished our unit on the Southwest.
Our next unit, starting Monday, will be the final region of the U.S., the
Science Fair –
Science Fair Binders were made today, January 5, in class. Each study received 2 packets. One was an informational packet (for you to
read as well) and the other was the materials needed to complete the
assignments. Please read through the
informational packet and let me know if you have any questions. Science Fair is March 2nd. Each week your child will have something due
for their project. For example Monday,
January 9th, their topic is due.
They need to complete the first sheet about their topic to be turned in
on Monday. Each assignment (due weekly)
is for a grade. Each day late is a
letter grade off so please be diligent in checking to make sure your child has
done their work. A calendar is included
in the packet so you know exactly WHAT is due WHEN it is due. The reason the project is due in steps is to
ensure that they understand the process and to give them enough time to prepare
and evaluate what they are doing. I will
post a folder in the “files and documents” section with all the pertinent
Report Cards – They
come home next week. Please sign the
yellow folder so I know you received it and viewed the report card. If you would like to talk about your child’s
progress, please let me know and I will be happy to discuss it with you!
Classroom Update – January 5, 2017
Reading – We have finished our unit on Poetry/non-fiction/inferences. Our unit test will be Tuesday, January 10th. Our new unit will be “What’s It All About?” This unit will analyze nonfiction text to compare and contrast, identify main idea, provide text evidence to identify new information gained from reading, comprehend and categorize information (both print and digital), summarize and synthesize, and use structural patterns. There will also be an emphasis on summarizing, determining importance, and monitoring. This unit will be started on Wednesday, January 11th and last about 4-6 weeks.
Writing – We have finished our unit on poetry. We will now investigate how writing to inform, explain, and describe are closely connected in the way the writer draws on facts and their own experiences. We will be focusing on a central idea and utilizing supporting details as well as using precise and descriptive vocabulary. Explanatory writing is helpful because it will work in tandem with the science fair projects. This is a 4-6 week unit.
Math – We have started a 2-week unit on probability. In this unit they will be able to make predictions and determine the probability of an outcome by constructing a sample space. They will need to:
- Construct a sample space, using a tree diagram to identify all possible outcomes of a single event.
- Construct a sample space, using a list or chart to represent all possible outcomes of a single event.
- Predict and determine the probability of an outcome by constructing a sample space. The sample space will have a total of 24 or less possible outcomes.
There is a study guide already posted in the “files and documents” section. Finally they will be able to give the probability in the forms of decimals, fractions, likelihood, tree diagram, sample space, and chances.
Science – We are continuing our unit of rocks and fossils. We have completed the rocks portion of the unit and are now studying fossils (Earth’s history and fossil evidence). This will weave into our next unit “Geological processes” where they will need to know the basic structure of the Earth’s interior, changes in Earth’s crust due to plate tectonics, human impact, and weathering, erosion, and deposition.
Social Studies – Our Bloom’s ball was the culminating project (and counted as the unit test) for this unit. Each child had a state to choose in the Midwest and needed to research it regarding the features that we are currently studying. Our next unit is the Southwest Region. We will start this unit on Monday, January 9th. It is a 3-week unit (and there are only 4 states, yay!).
Science Fair – Science Fair Binders were made today, January 5, in class. Each study received 2 packets. One was an informational packet (for you to read as well) and the other was the materials needed to complete the assignments. Please read through the informational packet and let me know if you have any questions. Science Fair is March 2nd. Each week your child will have something due for their project. For example Monday, January 9th, their topic is due. They need to complete the first sheet about their topic to be turned in on Monday. Each assignment (due weekly) is for a grade. Each day late is a letter grade off so please be diligent in checking to make sure your child has done their work. A calendar is included in the packet so you know exactly WHAT is due WHEN it is due. The reason the project is due in steps is to ensure that they understand the process and to give them enough time to prepare and evaluate what they are doing. I will post a folder in the “files and documents” section with all the pertinent information.
Interims – These went home before break. Please send one copy backed signed so I know that you got them. If you would like a conference or time to speak about the progress of your child, please let me know and I will be happy to help!
DECEMBER UPDATE 2016
Welcome back! I miss my sweatpants already and I think I’m still in a food coma from Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a very happy and enjoyable break. Here is a look at what is happening in our classroom from now until Winter Break. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have as we head into December. I uploaded all the new units on my School Messenger page under “Files and Documents”. A quick summary of our new units: Use of Language in Text, Poetry, Midwest region, Rocks and Fossils, and Fraction and Decimal Number Sense. In each folder there are several study guides AND/OR the Standards of Learning (SOLs). In the Standards of Learn objectives, the first 2 pages contain EXACTLY what your child needs to know by the end of the unit. This is essentially a study guide for you know to what they SHOULD know by the end. You are welcome to print and use anything in the files section.
Reading – Our new unit is Use of Language in Text. Student will find evidence in fiction, narrative nonfiction, and/or poetry to understand how the author’s writing style enables readers to make inferences and draw conclusions. Your child should be able to do the following by the end of this unit, which is about 4 weeks:
-use context to clarify meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases
-use content and sentence structure to determine meanings and differentiate among multiple meaning words
-Identify an author’s use of figurative language
-describe the development of plot and explain the resolution of conflicts
-describe the characteristics of free verse, rhymed, and patterned poetry
-describe how an author’s choice of vocabulary contributes to the author’s style
-identify main idea
*Please see the SOL objectives in the reading folder for a more detailed look.
Writing – Poetry – We will be analyzing and writing various poems utilizing elements of style, descriptive language, and specific vocabulary to elaborate when writing poetry for a variety of reasons.
Science – Rocks and Fossils – This unit will focus on an understanding of the earth’s surface. We will use the attributes of rocks and the rock cycle to identify basic types of rocks and to connect their properties to the processes of their formation. The concepts in this unit build upon the basic understandings of the earth from 4th grade. Key vocabulary in this unit includes erosion, fossil, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks, rock cycle, sedimentary rocks, and weathering. There is a review sheet “SOL 5.7 Earth” that is a great condensed version of all the material they will need to know. It is coming home today.
Social Studies – Midwest Region – In this unit they should be able to locate the Midwest region on a map and identify key political features (including states and capitals), explain the physical and climate characteristics, analyze the natural resources and economic activity, describe the population (which includes early settlement, historically significant events and places, and cultural characteristics), and examining the life in the Midwest today.
Math – Fraction and Decimal Number Sense – The focus of this unit is on developing an understanding of the relationship between fractions and decimals using a variety of models, including decimal grids and number lines. Students should be able to compare and order fractions and decimals using benchmark fractions like 0, ½ , and 1. They should be able to recognize and name fractions and their equivalent decimal form and vice versa. Also they should be able to compare and order fractions and decimals in a given set from least to greatest and greatest to least.
Key vocabulary: decimal, denominator, equivalent fraction, equivalent relationship, greatest to least, hundredths, improper fraction, least to greatest, mixed number, numerator, tenths, thousandths, and words that tell how many parts into which a whole or a set is divided (twelfths, elevenths, tenths, ninths, etc.)
Curriculum Update November 9, 2016
The first 9 weeks is officially over and we are off to the races in the second quarter! A great big THANK YOU to all of those that could make it in to parent/teacher conferences. I know you have busy schedules but it’s always nice to meet in person at least once to talk about the progress of your child. If you would ever like a conference throughout the year, please just let me know and I will be happy to help! Here is a look at what we are currently studying:
Reading – Navigating Nonfiction – We are continuing to work on identifying the main idea and supporting details in nonfiction text. This week we are focusing on informational text features while looking at stated main ideas in the text. Determining text importance and making connections from the text-to-self have also been focused on this week.
Writing – We are continuing to research accurate facts on topics of their choosing to write an informative essay. Most of the kids have a topic and have done their research. They are currently putting that research into paragraph form with a topic sentence followed by supporting details.
Math – Our new unit is Data Analysis. Last week we looked at “what makes a good graph” and “what a graph is trying to tell us”. This week we will begin mean (average), median (the middle), mode (most), and range (greatest minus the least).
Dreambox – We are now implementing the “Math Daily 3” in our classroom. In order to provide the most differentiation, there will be stations dedicated to meeting the diverse levels while providing the same content. The stations are: math to self, math with someone, guided math, math writing, and a technology station. Dreambox is an interactive website aimed at building conceptual understanding and math fluency. As your child works through lessons, Dreambox differentiates the content as your child gets the information correct or incorrect. It also adapts based on HOW your child gets the problem wrong to tailor the lessons to strengthen their weaknesses as well as enrich their strengths. They should complete 7-8 lessons per week, spending at least 60 minutes/week going through lessons. They will get at least 20 minutes per day to work in school on Dreambox. A letter should have come home to explain this program as well as give you a parental log-in to check your child’s progress. The website is listed under “Useful Links”.
Science – We started our unit on Oceanography. In this unit they will need to know the geographic and physical features of the ocean as well as the biological/ecological characteristics. They will be able to label the features of the ocean floor (continental shelf, continental slope, continental rise, abyssal plain, mid-ocean ridge, sea mounts, trench, and volcanic islands), identify the physical characteristics that are determined by depth, salinity, wave formation, and tide and current formation, as well as how life adapts to all these elements.
Social Studies – Southeast Region – In their notebooks they have a map of the Southeast region with the states/captials/sub-regions (inland and coastal). They also have notes about the physical characteristics and water features as well as the climate and natural resources. This week we will study about the economic activity in the SE region and start our project, a brochure created through PowerPoint. This brochure is for a student created Bed and Breakfast in an area of their choosing in the Southeast. They will highlight the attributes in that specific region in regards to natural resources, economic activity, climate, physical/water features, famous landmarks, and historical events. This will be due at the end of the unit in a few weeks.
Grades – As we start fresh with a new grading period, please be diligent in checking your child’s grades at least once a week. Through Parent Portal you can access these grades as they come in. If you have any questions as the year progresses, please feel free to let me know and I’ll be happy to help.
Accelerated Reader – “The more you read, the better you get.” It’s just not about reading but making your child accountable for what they read. Through reading responses (comprehension), AR quizzes (comprehension), reading logs for in-school reading (goals), and individual conferences (goals), your child is being given the tools to be held accountable. AR is weighted 2 and due on the last day of the quarter. Each child has an individual points goal (let’s call it 20 points for right now). Most books can be found on the AR list. Your child should be striving to read at their independent reading level (one level under their instructional level). Points on books range from 0.5 all the way up to 50+. Please make sure your child is reading at home and encouraging them to take AR points at school. I give them a daily reminder to take the quizzes. I do not grade the quizzes but I do look at the total points they have and how well they do on the quizzes.
Curriculum Update 10-19-16
Reading – We finished our first unit, “Story Elements”, last week and took the unit test. This week we started our second unit which is “Navigating Nonfiction”. In this unit, we will learn and discuss the following skills in regard to nonfiction text:
-use text organizers, such as type, headings, and graphics, to predict and categorize information
-Skim materials to develop a general overview of content and to locate specific information
-Identify the main idea of nonfiction texts
-Summarize supporting details of nonfiction texts
-Identify structural patterns found in nonfiction
The metacognitive strategies that will be covered in this unit will be making connections (text, self, world), ask questions, and determining text importance. This will be a 6-week unit.
Writing – Informative – We will be able to find, evaluate, and select appropriate resources for a research product including: constructing questions about a topic, collecting information from multiple resources, use technology as a tool, organize information presented in charts, maps, and graphs, and defining the meaning of plagiarism. This will be a 6-week unit.
Math – We are currently working on finishing our multiplication/division/order of operations unit. The unit test is scheduled for next Friday, Oct. 28th. There is a study guide posted online and we will do it in class next week before the test. In this unit they should be know the following things:
-identify and describe prime and composite numbers (up to 100)
-create and solve single step and multi-step practical problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For multiplication it will be no more than 3x2 digit problems (ex: 242 x 42). For division it will be a 4-digit dividend and 2-digit divisor (4,512 / 89).
-simplify expressions using the order of operations (PEMDAS) to show step by step approaches and find the numerical value of an expression using the order of operations
-investigate and represent the distributive property of multiplication and division
Our next unit will be Data Analysis (mean, median, mode, range), graphs, and stem and leaf plot.
Science – Our first unit, living organisms, will be done tomorrow. The unit test is 30 questions on PowerTest, all multiple choice. It will cover the 5 kingdoms, cell parts and functions, classifications, and adaptations. The interactive zoo map on ThingLink is due Friday, Oct. 21st. Our next unit will be Oceanography. We will start is on Monday, October 24th. In this unit they should know that the ocean environment includes geological, physical, and ecological characteristics.
Social Studies – We completed our unit on the Northeast yesterday. The quilts are due this Friday and will be presented during class. On Monday, October 24th we will start our new unit on the Southeast region. It will cover the same general areas as the Northeast: physical and water features, economic activities, natural resources, climate, states/capitals, significant events and historical events, early settlements, and famous landmarks. The Coastal states of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. The in-land states include Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
Parent/Teacher Conferences – If you have not signed up for a conference, please sign up under the “links” section of my page on Sign-Up Genius. I still have several spots open. If none of the time work for you please let me know and we can work something out!
Silverlake Field Trip - Friday, October 7th.
Normal Lunch Time: Students carry their lunch and water with them and eat during the second rotation with their small group. Lunch usually takes places sometime between 11:50am and 12:10pm. Our instructors will make sure that students have an opportunity to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer right before they eat.
Chaperone: Please bring at least one chaperon per eight students.
Weather and Clothing: Camp will be held outdoors in all weather, except during thunder and lightning when children will be sheltered indoors. Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather. Children should come to camp prepared with:
- Comfortable clothing that allows them to explore in nature (mud, dirt, water, bugs)
- Closed toe shoes that are comfortable and functional
- Sunscreen every day, even when overcast
- Insect repellent especially when mosquitos and ticks are bad
- Lunch and water bottle filled with water (we will have water available for refills) - Hat for protection from the sun
- Rain gear if necessary
-Closed Toe Shoes/Boots
-Sun Lotion & Bug Spray
-Hat with Brim (for Sun
-Food for Snacks
10/3/16 - Silverlake Field Trip - Chaperones
The following parents will be helping chaperone this Friday, October 7th with our class: Bradley, Giger, Karkera, Kuntz, Lynch, Robertson, Simmons, and Ramirez.
Thank you all so much for coming to Back-to-School Night! I have a very positive feeling about this class with all that they are capable of and how sweet they are. In all the excitement to share so much information last night I forgot to mention to sign up for PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES.
Under the "Useful Links" section, there is a "Parent/Teacher Conference" link that takes you to Sign-Up Genius. Please make sure to sign up for an available time slot so we can discuss your child's progress. If none of the days or times work for you, just let me know and I'll be happy to work something out. Thank you!
Curriculum Update – 9/27/16
I can’t believe it’s been a whole month that we have been in school already! So much has been happening and I know that I will see you at Back-to-School Night but here is just a quick peek at what has been happening (and what is coming up) in our classroom.
Reading – We are continuing our unit on Story Elements. This is a 6 week unit that studies the elements of a story including setting, plot, characters, conflict, resolution, climax, events, and main idea. We have used online resources to show how familiar Fairy Tales contain all these elements and then applying them to new, unfamiliar stories in guided reading. Guided Reading is now in full swing. Students were separated into groups based on reading strategy needs and they are given text that is representative of their instructional reading level. Nothing we do in guided reading is graded, it is an instructional learning time to practice skills.
Writing – Our writing unit is narrative writing and it is a 6 week unit that corresponds to story elements. They are paired together because of the foundational skills needed to write a strong narrative story include story elements. Every day they practice writing in language arts. It is free form writing and only meant to practice. Once a week, they have a Reading Response that will be due. This is a friendly letter written to me summarizing what they have read (from a book of their choice at their independent reading level) as well as some higher level thinking questions and topics that make them think deeper about the text than just summarizing.
Math – We just finished our unit on Addition/Subtraction/Rounding with decimals. Our new unit is Multiplication/Division/Order of Operations. It will be a 5 week unit that includes identifying and describing the characteristics of even, odd, prime, and composite number. It will also include creating and solving single step and multi-step practical problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with and without remainders of whole numbers. We will also learn about the distributive property of multiplication over addition (in regards to the partial product method of multiplication) and finally learning about the order of operations (PEMDAS- Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction).
Science – We are in the 2nd week of a 6 week unit on Living Organisms. We have just finished learning about the basic cell structures and functions of animal and plant cells. Currently we are learning how to classify animals according to physical characteristics, body structures, and behavior of an organism (also reading a dichotomous key with these features). The final 2 topics of this unit are learning about the survival of organisms in their environment and science process skills. Our project for this unit will be creating an interactive map of a zoo that they created (classified by how they would like it) and linking the map to pictures, facts, videos, and webpages that share information they have learned about plants and animals. This will be due at the end of the unit.
Social Studies – We are studying our 1st of 5 U.S. regions, the Northeast. The general topics that they will have to know for each region will be physical and water features, climate, economic activity, natural resources, famous landmarks, significant events, and culture. They will be able to locate the state on a blank map of the region and label it as well as identify the capital of each state in the region. The project for this unit will be to make a 9 tile quilt where each tile will contain illustrations and information that represent the elements of the region described above. This will be due at the end of the unit.