Park Specialists' Newsletter

Fifth Grade Edition - First Trimester

Big image

First Trimester Recap

All of Park's certified Teaching Specialists have compiled a summary of what students have learned, enjoyed, and mastered in their respective classes for the past twelve weeks. Please scroll down, read, and watch what students have been up to at Park Elementary.

From Park's Art Instructor - Mrs. Ovadje

“Who is Mrs. Ovadje?” some may wonder. She is in her third year as the Art teacher at Park. Formerly known as Ms. Kirchoff, she changed her name over the summer and am now called Mrs. Ovadje (oh-vaw-jay), or Mrs. O.

Throughout this school year, the students are learning about art from “Around the World”. They began the year by creating passports; students will get their passport stamped after they “visit” a country. The first trip was to India, where fifth graders studied pictures of Mandalas and focused on their radial designs and patterns. We also talked about the art of Zentangle and combined Mandalas and Zentangle to create Zen-dalas.

After India, we went on a voyage to Mexico. Fifth graders discovered the history of Mexican bark paper and made Amate Bark Paintings, a type of Mexican Folk Art painting made out of tree bark! Even though students could not make traditional Bark Paintings, we improvised with brown construction paper and bright neon paint colors.

In November we journeyed up the continent of North America to study Native American Art. Fifth graders learned about the Navajo, a tribe from the Southwest. We read, The Magic of Spider Woman by Lois Duncan. Spider Woman is a Navajo legend, the one who taught the Navajo how to weave. Inspired, fourth and fifth graders made a loom and began weaving a bookmark. We will continue to weave through December.

Big image

From Park's Librarian - Ms. Shadis

In the Library

Fifth grade practiced research skills utilizing Minnesota’s electronic library as we also began using Google Classroom. Click on the YouTube link to view a short explanation of all that the ELM has to offer!

This costly database is FREE for you to visit at

Minnesota Student Book Choice

Students who have read at least three of the Minnesota Student Book Choice titles will be able to vote for their favorite book at the end of March. The votes from Park Elementary will be tallied and sent into the state headquarters for compilation with all of the other student votes around the state. The student choice book award recipient will be announced on April 25. Encourage your child to participate.

Considering giving your child a special book for the holidays?

Here are some resources that can help:

Need Anything Further?

Parents and guardians are always welcome to contact our librarian, Ms. Shadis, 234-2616 for personalized recommendations. Thank you for encouraging the children you know and love to read -- it's an important lifelong skill!

From Park's Technology Integration Instructor - Mr. Durheim

Fifth graders have been busy learning more about the tools available in their Google Drive account and how to responsibly use the tools. Most recently we learned about sharing files to get constructive feedback and collaborate.

Learn more about what we’ve been learning at the TechTime website:!

From Park's Phy Ed Educators - Mrs. Hahn & Ms. Mueller

A typical day in the Physical Education class begins with a fitness warm-up activity. These activities vary from cardiovascular, muscular strength/endurance, and/or flexibility. (Please click here to view a video of students using dice to indicate which activity they are to do, from sprints to abs.) The purpose of these activities is to increase the students’ awareness and level of fitness. After the warm-up, students have a lesson that focuses on the skills that will help them to be successful in the games of a unit. From there, students participate in an age–appropriate game using the skill(s) practiced during that lesson.

With the arrival of snow and thus the need for boots, please help your child to remember to bring his/her tennis shoes on days that he/she has Phy Ed.

Units covered during the first trimester:

*Soccer skills

*Football skills

*Fitness tests

*Bowling skill



Students discussed and demonstrated good sportsmanship during Physical Education and evaluated their own sportsmanship. To continue this throughout the year, a traveling sportsmanship trophy will be awarded each month to a class that demonstrates good sportsmanship.

Successful Superhero Workouts:

A big thank you for all your help in making the Superhero workouts a big success. Students completed over 2,000 workouts at home! It was great seeing their excitement when they completed a workout. Many students have done or are on their way to completing all ten workouts. Pictured above is a picture of all the exercises and the impressive amount of student participants (click on the image to make it even larger!)

Walk for Hunger:

We will once again be doing the "Walk for Hunger" Food shelf drive on December 10-11.
This event combines wellness and community service for our students. All items must be brought to school by the event so that we can deliver to the McLeod County Food Shelf in time for the holidays. Last year, our students collected 2,768 lbs. of food. We will be needing volunteers once again this year. Please contact us if you are able to help at 587-2837 or email us at or

From Park's Music Teachers - Ms. Hauth & Mrs. Hoeft

In fifth grade music we have continued our work on recorder and have been reviewing what the students learned in fourth grade. The students can play B, A, G, and C and have learned a new note, low E. Learning the recorder helps them to become more skilled at reading music and improves their hand-eye coordination. We play songs from the recorder book in class with a CD accompaniment, as well as additional songs the students keep in their music folders. We have studied songs in 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures as well as playing in 6/8 time signature. The students enjoy the success of being able to play well together in a group, and have also begun to experiment individually with making up their own patterns and melodies using the notes they know, particularly with our “Capital Cities” rhythms. See the video below of students playing Acka Backa, a song of folk origin.

Instrumental work this trimester included playing Rocky Mountain on the xylophones. We have a full set of Orff instruments, including xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels, in each room so every child can participate as we play together. Students were able to perform a contrasting rhythm pattern on the xylophone while singing three verses and the chorus of Rocky Mountain. We also improvised rhythms and melodies using sixteenth notes (“tika-tika”). Students reviewed the pentatonic scale (Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La) and they practiced echoing and making up their own melodies using these notes on the Orff instruments.

The students have been challenging themselves to sing and play more difficult pieces this year using harmonies and layered rhythms. Shimmy Shimmy (Down By The Rollercoaster), This Land Is Your Land, and Rocky Mountain were some of the songs that focused on these skills. We’ve also been working really hard on singing rounds in two or more groups.

Click here for bonus material to view video of fifth graders performing various dance routines to the same melody.

Mr. Tillmann's 5th Grade Class Performs Acka Backa

From Park's Science Specialists - Mrs. Kucera & Mrs. Mueller

Science is “Out of This World”! Space has been our focus of study during the first trimester. We specifically concentrated on the sun, Earth, and moon. Rotation (spin) and revolution (orbit) were words that helped us learn why we have night and day and why the moon “appears” to change its shape. One of the most important concepts we discovered was how the tilt of the Earth, along with Earth’s orbit of the sun, is the reason for the four seasons. During all of this important learning, we worked extremely hard to create different models of the solar system to help us understand these concepts. (Click here to view a video of students modeling planetary orbit.) In addition, students learned about two special scientists, Galileo and Buzz Aldrin, who helped to shape what is known about outer space. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to stand on the moon’s surface. We learned about both of their lives and each man’s great contributions to the study of outer space. The highlight of the trimester for the students would certainly have been the special visit from two Space Cadets during Spaceology. During their Spaceology time, students experienced an asteroid storm, as well as, a variety of other challenges that might prepare them someday for outer space.

After learning about the Earth in outer space, we took a closer look at what makes up the Earth. Students learned that the Earth has four layers: crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. From there we took an even closer look at the earth materials that make up the crust, specifically rocks and minerals. Students had numerous hands-on experiences with this unit, from sorting rocks to testing minerals to doing a Skittles Lab demonstrating weathering and erosion. This unit will continue into the second trimester. Park Elementary Scientists rock!

Park Elementary School

Park Elementary School serves approximately 875 students in second through fifth grade. Our purpose is to meet the needs of the whole child with an emphasis on basic academic skills. We are committed to providing as many hands-on learning experiences as possible in all academic areas. It is important that our students know, understand, and apply what we teach. We provide instruction and opportunities in all academic areas. As an elementary school, our focus is on language arts and mathematics.