Happy New Year!
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I want to begin the first newsletter of 2016 with a big THANK YOU to everyone for the kindness you showed me the week before our holiday break. I certainly feel blessed with the best students and parents a teacher could ask for. So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I hope you all had a wonderful two week winter break and that you were able to spend time relaxing, visiting with family and friends, and slowing down a bit to take it all in. January is upon us. At school that means the last two weeks of second quarter, preparing for the Invention Convention, Spelling Bee, and many other fun and exciting events.
As a teacher it also means a renewed sense of purpose in preparing your child not only for the second half of fifth grade, but for the next step in their academic career: middle school! Mrs. Creasy provided information in her Eagle Entries newsletter about Middle School visits and Middle School night. Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification on anything.
I spoke to my classes a little before our break about my expectations going into third and fourth quarter. It is an exciting time for fifth graders, but it is also an important time when their teachers begin to give them even more independence and responsibility for their own learning. I will be encouraging students to spend more time self-assessing their understanding of concepts. I have included a section, below, that may help you to reinforce this concept at home. Teaching students to think about their own thinking is one of the most challenging, but rewarding, parts of my job because I know it is a skill students will use for the rest of their lives.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Here's to an amazing 2016!
As we near the end of second quarter please continue to watch and discuss the weather with your child as much as possible. We still plan to have a video chat with Tim Buckley, WFMY Meteorologist, to see the weather studio and to hear a little about how he prepares his weather forecasts. In case you missed it in December I have included a funny video, below, of Tim and the Wake Forest Demon Deacon forecasting the weather together. The second week of January we will have Quarter Testing which includes an online Schoolnet test for Science. The week we return we will be finishing our weather unit, doing a bit of self-assessing on how well we understand the concepts, and working together to fill in any information that we still need to know. I am in the process of placing the videos and websites we have used in class on our class Haiku site. All students have logged in and used Haiku several times at school now so please let me know if they have any issues accessing it from home. Much of what we do together in third and fourth quarter will be on Haiku and it will also be an invaluable resource in preparing for the end of the year. The second quarter study guide is posted now and I am asking all students to take their binder home everyday this week (and over the weekend) to look over their glossaries and their packet of Weather notes. After the Weather Unit we will jump into a very fun unit on Matter: Physical and Chemical Properties/Changes. There are numerous interesting labs that we will do together in class to get a better understanding of these concepts. Finally, we will round out third quarter science with Forces and Motion and a "Be a Meteorologist" Weather project. Please let me know if you have any questions!
In our Literature Study groups we are reading Biographies about many interesting people who have had a major impact on American History. We will be working together over the next two weeks to complete our first inquiry project of the year: What is the Real Cost of Chocolate? Students will be interacting with numerous primary and secondary sources in order to practice using the informational text skills we have been focusing on to answer the above question. We did an introduction to the inquiry before the holidays and students seem very interested and excited to learn more! This unit combines our informational text skills with part of our Personal Financial Literacy Social Studies unit.
Following second quarter Benchmark testing we will continue with our biographies in our Literature Study groups, will begin our first "round" of Book Clubs, and we will also be working together as a whole class to research the Civil Rights Movement. This research project will lead us into our next class novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963.
If you have any questions please let me know!