Fifth Grade Newsletter

May 2016

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Reading/Language Arts

Ms. Casale's class has finished reading The Westing Game and completed a culminating project catered to each individual learning style, such as linguistic, musical, kinesthetic, etc. They could write a critique, compose a song, design a game with rules and guidelines, create a brochure, or many other options. Next, we will be reading Number the Stars and will review all literature skills learned throughout the year--one for each chapter of the book. To develop student ownership and initiative in personal learning, students will develop the class spelling/vocabulary lists each week based on what they read in the story and feel they need more practice with.

Mrs. Tascillo's class just finished Old Man and the Sea and will be working on an in-school project as a formal assessment to the novel. Moving forward, students will be reading Number the Stars and will complete a book report partially in school and partially at home. Finally, there will be a culminating writing assignment in school based on a work of historical fiction.


Ms. Casale's class has mastered all operations with fractions and mixed numbers, including studying various types of real-world word problems to apply their newly acquired skills. We have moved on to our graphing unit, which requires students to work with all operations, graph ordered pairs, and analyze data. We will also be working on sixth grade level skills including equations, inequalities, integers, and coordinate graphing within four quadrants.

Mrs. Tascillo's class is working on adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions and mixed numbers. Students need to know how to simplify fractions, as well as convert from an improper fraction to a mixed number and vice versa. Students have a major assessment coming up that will determine their ability to complete all of these operations accurately.

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With our amazing trip to SeaCamp, we wrapped up our unit on oceans, in which students learned about how oceans move, the features of the ocean and its floor, and various ecosystems within the ocean. Please see our special section below on SeaCamp! Our next unit is matter and students will study the states of matter, how they change, and mixtures and solutions.

Social Studies

We are completing our unit on elections, and students have been taught about the electoral process, including the steps to presidency and typical viewpoints of political parties. For the last few weeks of school, students will have choice in their topic of study. We will provide options for the students and the majority will determine the next unit in social studies. Options include various historical events, figures, etc. that are of interest, applicable, and appropriate for fifth grade.


This month, as we are getting ready to finalize this year’s work, we will finish up filming our movie while perfecting both our reading and speaking skills and learning to speak like true “Israelies”.

In our writing, we will perfect our ability to write a paragraph using both present and past tenses while making sure we read out loud these paragraphs with great intonation and pronounciation.

As we get closer to the holidays, our class will learn important facts Yom Ha’Shoa, Yom Hazikaron, Yom ha”Atzmaut, Lag B’Omer and the holiday of Shavuot. We will learn about the significance of each of these ceremonies and holidays. The class will learn the story of Megilat Ruth and explain the Mitzvot and rituals associated with this holiday.

Chodesh Tov!


In Torah class we will be focused on two portions: Parashat Ki Tisa and Parashat Teruma. The students will explore the story of the Sin of the Golden Calf in Parashat Ki Tisah, Chapter 32, and the building of the Mishkan (The Tabernacle) and it’s purpose in Parasht Teruma. The students will find similarities and differences between the Mishkan/Holy Temple and today’s synagogue. In addition to Torah study we will be celebrating Rosh Chodesh Iyar and many of its holidays: Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Lag BaOmer, and Yom Yerushalayim. We will also participate in the study and presentation of Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron ceremonies.


During the month of May, students will be working on a special Mother’s Day card. They will be learning about Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in the United States. Then, they will be reviewing previously learned concepts.


This month we will learn about places in the community, such as schools, libraries, museums, stores, and restaurants, as well as roles in the community, such as teachers, farmers, lawyers, doctors, and businessmen. Students will learn to recognize and speak this vocabulary in Chinese in order to describe their community.


In Exploratorium this month, fifth grade will construct a Lego exploration named "Build to Express." In this structured build, students are given a scenario to create a project that represents facts, knowledge, and comprehension of a given topic. "Build to Express" helps bring language arts and social studies to the STEM lab, tying in the core curriculum studies to Exploratorium.

Physical Education

We are currently completing our lacrosse unit, and will then end our year with with America's favorite pastime: baseball. We will put to test all the skills we learned in other sports units, including the skills of hand/eye coordination, catching, throwing and striking moving targets.


Fifth grade students are learning about op art (optical illusions). The students are very impressed with this style and are working very hard to create their own piece. We are still continuing to collect egg cartons as well!

We want to extend a big "thank you" to our parent volunteers, Mrs. Kaplan and Mr. Pinhasi, who came in as guest teachers!


Our SeaCamp trip was absolutely incredible! In addition to simply enjoying our time together in the great outdoors, outlined below is some information regarding the labs we participated in and some of the interesting facts our students learned:
  • Snorkeling Trip - We took a boat ride a few miles away to explore the ocean floor and its creatures. We learned about the preservation of this area and how we had to be aware of our surroundings to not disturb any wildlife. Interesting creatures we saw included barracuda, eel, oysters, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and many other various fish!
  • Horseshoe Island - We shuffled our way across the water to visit the island and explore the mangroves--a crucial element of the ecosystem of south Florida. Our shuffling helped us avoid any run-ins with sting rays! However, we did see the ferocious blue crab once we made it to the island and managed to stay on his good side.
  • Algae Lab - We put our investigation skills to the test as we dissected an assortment of algae to find the various sealife that live within the algae. We found tiny crabs, worms, shrimp, sea slugs, and more!
  • Night Adaptations Lab - With our flashlights in hand, we directed our guide to discover what was hiding in the dark waters near the sea wall. We now have the honor of being the first group to find a baby octopus at SeaCamp!
  • Echinoderm Lab - This hands-on lab enabled us to learn more fun facts about the sea cucumbers, urchin, and brittle stars we saw during our snorkeling trip. Did you know the mouth of the urchin is called "Aristotle's lantern"? Or that a pearl fish can live inside of a sea cucumber?
  • Campfire/Astronomy Lab - We roasted marshmallows and made s'mores while learning about the constellations we could see in the night sky. Orion's Belt, the Big Dipper, and Ursa Major were just some of the ones we discussed.