5th Grade Newsletter

Social Studies - Have map will travel!

Our amazing, eco-friendly, one of a kind, fantasy maps are coming home in art portfolios before break. Don't be nervous about asking your child about his or her country's religions, resources, gross domestic product, and highlights!

The Pilgrims received a little sympathy this month while we tried to simulate their journey by working as teams in "ships" built to scale.

Our travels to the refugee center was a lot like touring foreign countries. I'm so proud of how the students talked, mimed, helped, and made friends with newly arrived immigrants.

To kick off our upcoming Revolutionary War Unit we are heading to the Frazier History Museum December 11. Not only will we see the exhibits and take a class on The Intolerable Acts, we will see a portrayal of a Revolutionary War hero. Hopefully this will fire the students up for the dramatic presentation they will be making next quarter. More information will come about the Revolutionary War Talk Show in January.

Math- There's more than one way to solve that problem!

It is a pleasure to see fifth grade math students so happy and engaged in math class! We have been busy strengthening our numeration skills, learning multiple methods for division, and practicing self-reflection and self-assessment skills. Students are solidifying skills while playing games with classmates. In Angle Tangle, students estimate the measurement of an angle drawn by a friend, and then measure to check the accuracy of their estimate. In First to 100, students practice variable substitution and solving equations. This is a fun way to introduce pre-algebraic thinking!

Just a reminder of weekly Math Mornings! Students can come get extra support every week. Each Monday the Math Morning date is posted and they take place on either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the week.

We live in a world surrounded by technology. And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. But only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and fewer students are studying it than a decade ago.

That’s why our entire school is once again joining in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-13). More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code.

The Hour of Code, organized by the nonprofit Code.org and over 100 others, is a statement that today’s generation of students are ready to learn critical skills for 21st century success. See http://hourofcode.com/us for details, and help spread the word.

"Now I know that coding is in many video games, and is very important for making things with computers. I also had a lot of fun over the hour, it didn't even feel like an hour!" --Gillen

"I never knew that programming and coding could require so much patience. I used to think that Minecraft was easy to make. Now I know you really need to use common sense to code." --Lailey

"I still wonder how long it takes to code one big world in a video game." --Robert

Science Researchers Rule!

Fifth grade scientists have been busy researching a variety of natural disaster topics this past several weeks with the support of science instructor Melissa Martin, media specialist Sara Franks, and tech support instructor Nicole Glover. This challenging project requires each student to conduct intense research using school designated websites, print resources, and proper citation methods. The information gathered and placed on Google share documents will result team project that will include a Google slide show and creation of a model related to their studies. Coming in January will be the premier showings and the return of Lego Robotics!

Physical Education

The 5th grade Physical Education classes completed units in volleyball, badminton, basketball and climbing. Skill development, drills and small sided games were incorporated to help students learn basic fundamentals and strategies to these games. We also completed a dance unit where students used their creativity to demonstrate their own dance moves along with following patterns to learn new dances. We covered fitness development and discussed the four components of fitness. We also practiced exercises and stretches that demonstrate the 4 components of fitness.

After the holidays, the fifth grade classes will learn aerobic games, step aerobics and begin units in either team handball, off the wall or floor hockey. We hope everyone has a wonderful, active holiday with family and friends.


During the month of November, we focused on stress management. Students were given a stress survey to help them identify and become aware of some of the triggers for their own stress. We discussed the physical changes in your body when you experience stress such as sleep problems. Some of the stress triggers that were identified in 5th grade were: homework, family problems, fitting in, making friends, tests, and extracurricular activities. The students were given the opportunity to choose a stress management technique from the "Rx for stress" jar and teach it to the group. Some of the more fun and interesting strategies were yoga poses, accupressure points, positive self talk and breathing exercises. Everyone jumped into action and learned something new. Ask your child to share something that helps them alleviate stress and remind them to practice when they find their stress rising!

Language Arts

In Language Arts this quarter, students read and explored the book Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. We analyzed characters, discussed story elements, and created and answered knowledge, comprehension and higher order thinking questions. We identified key words to distinguish different levels of thinking in order to understand how to effectively answer questions. Students participated in both large and small group discussion in which the events of the story were discussed and questioned in order to gain a deeper understanding of character relationships, figurative language and important events related to the plot. We looked for specific evidence from the text and incorporated excerpts in order to explain comprehension questions and to support a given opinion. We discussed different strategies for effective note taking in order to identify new vocabulary words and passages they found significant for different reasons. Students incorporated vocabulary words they identified from the book and words from the Word Wisdom unit into both their daily work and compare/contrast essay. In collaboration with Art class, students created an expressive drawing from their favorite scene in the book. It was interesting to see how each person had their own unique interpretation of the events from the story. To end the quarter, we watched Nickelodeon's version of the movie Maniac Magee. The students had this to say about the movie:

"So far the movie was good, but it left out some really important parts. Watching the movie is showing us how sometimes it's necessary to make cuts when making a movie." -Masha Shtapova

"I really don't like the movie because it left out some of the best parts." -Woodford Ragland

"The movie was very different from the book." -Colin Grant

"I didn't like the way Mars Bar was portrayed in the movie." -Elijah Reigelman

"The movie is good but it's different from what I expected." -Jane Moore

"I'm sad that they didn't include Grayson because he was a big part of the book." -Jackson Rue

"The movie is not at all how I imagined it when I read the book." -Ike Johnson

"Even though the movie cut some important parts from the book, the movie added some scenes that helped you forget what was taken out." -Pye Boden


We've been hearing some wonderful book talks in Library! The students have been doing a great job introducing a book in an enticing way and getting others excited about the books that they're reading. This month, we heard about some battle books, like Rules and Into the Firestorm, as well as some popular titles, like Magnus Chase and The Five Kingdoms.

Before break, I introduced the students to our Library holiday challenge - to read six of the hottest 2016 Newbery contenders over the break (the winner of the medal will be announced in January), and to tell us which book they think should take the top prize. Those who guess the book that wins will be entered into a drawing for a prize of their own. If you're still looking for a good Christmas gift for a 5th grade reader, consider these books!

The titles in the challenge are:

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Bradley

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Garcia Williams

Spanish Class

What going on in Spanish class in November and December.

Theme: What do you like to do?

At the end of this period 5th grade are able to:

· Talk about activities they like and don’t like to do.

· Ask others what they like to do.

Cultural connections: The activities more popular in the Spanish countries: dances, outdoor café, and music. (Hispanic heritage)

Oral Assessment: Role play/Conversation in class and interview.

To see the student's works select the correct class.