Mrs. Craps' Class
Fall is Here!
It's hard to believe we are already a few weeks into the new school year! So far things are going smoothly. Students have adjusted very quickly to our fifth grade schedule, and they are doing well staying organized and being responsible for their materials with class changes. I am so proud of them all!
A big thank you to everyone who joined us on Tuesday, September 16 for Curriculum Night. I heard from several who were unable to attend for a variety of reasons so I have posted the presentation from that night in a link on the menu on the left of my website. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope this newsletter gives you all of the information you feel like you need for the month of September and early October. I am always available by email, or you may call the front office and I will return your call as soon as I am able.
I look forward to continuing to work with you to make this your child's best year in school yet!
Reading/Language Arts Corner
A big skill this year that we will focus on in everything we read is thinking critically about what we are reading. The phrase I have been using in class is "digging deep" into the text. This month we began reading our first class novel There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom written by Louis Sachar. If you would like to read a bit more about the novel click here: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/theres-boy-girls-bathroom#cart/cleanup. In this novel we will be focusing on several important aspects of the fifth grade Common Core curriculum including: characters and character traits, comparing and contrasting, making inferences, and identifying the theme of a work of fiction. At the end of the novel students will complete a character project. Once the project is assigned I will post more information on my website.
In addition to our class novel, students have time in class to read for a sustained time in an Independent Reading novel of their choice. We have practiced finding books that are "just right" and I encourage all students to read books at their appropriate reading level in order to receive the greatest benefit from this time. Students are also expected to read 25-30 minutes at home every evening as a part of their Reading homework. Stamina is a major factor on the Fifth Grade Reading End-of-Grade test so the more you can encourage your child to read for extended periods at home the better it will serve them in May.
Finally, a letter went home in Tuesday packets on September 16 explaining two nonfiction publications we will be using in fifth grade this year. The first, Time for Kids, will be an important part of our informational text curriculum in Reading class and will be used on a weekly basis to practice the skills that are specific to reading and understanding nonfiction. If you have any questions regarding the curriculum or expectations in our reading class please do not hesitate to contact me!
This quarter's math curriculum focuses on two major concepts: volume and decimals. I am working hard with students this year to "think outside of the box" when it comes to math. Students often gain a better understanding of the material and concepts when they are able to explore with appropriate math tools, and come to some conclusions of their own. Please encourage your children to explore and take risks when it comes to the math curriculum. I have been telling them that it is okay to try and fail, the most important thing is to keep trying and working hard until we figure it out!
The primary focus of the volume unit was to work with cubic units to fill boxes in order to determine a more efficient way of calculating volume would be to use the formula length x width x height. It was important for students to explore by filling boxes in order to truly understand the meaning of volume. We also spent time at the beginning of the unit reviewing what students already know, understand and are able to do with the concepts of perimeter and area.
The second part of the quarter's math focuses on decimals. Right now we are working to extend student's knowledge of whole number place value to the right of the decimal. We are looking at the patterns between the places in numbers and exploring the idea that each place increases x10 when you move to the left, and is 1/10 as much when you move to the right. We are also looking at powers of 10 and how we can write numbers using exponents, words, expanded form and standard form. Toward the end of the quarter we will use our knowledge of decimals (to the thousandths place) to add, subtract and multiply with decimals. If you have any questions regarding the curriculum or expectations for our math class please do not hesitate to contact me!
We are having a lot of fun in science class already! The two units covered in first quarter are Genetics and Ecosystems. We kicked off our Genetics unit by extracting DNA from strawberries. Not only did students LOVE this task but it also gave them a chance to learn more about science lab equipment, lab safety, and following procedures. I have some pictures from the experiment and hope to share them as a slideshow with you soon. I hope you were able to share in some interesting conversations with your child throughout this unit as we examined traits that are inherited and traits that are learned.
We are now in the early stages of our Ecosystems unit. Right now we are focusing on the concept of an Ecosystem, as well as looking at Communities, Populations and Organisms. Students will be bringing home a niche project in the next few days that will require a bit of internet research on a specific organism. I will post the project requirements and rubric to my website when it has been assigned.
We continue to also focus a small part of our day on making weather observations by looking out of the window in the classroom, watching several local weather forecasts and checking the weather online. Our new Whitaker weather station is now installed outside on the hill beside the downstairs and should be up and running soon.
Finally, we are excited to have Ms. Harris at Whitaker as our Science Enrichment teacher during ENCORE! Students have the opportunity to do hands on science activities that are aligned with and enhance our classroom instruction. If you have any questions about our science curriculum or expectations please do not hesitate to contact me!
Social Studies Corner
Our social studies this quarter focuses on Early People in the Americas, European Explorers, and Colonization/Thirteen Colonies. Students will have opportunities to explore the past through virtual field trips, webquests and group work. You will also be getting more information soon about our first field trip (in October) to the Heritage Theater. This field trip gives students the opportunity to dress in costume and participate in a Readers' Theater production reenacting various important events throughout American History. If you have any questions about our Social Studies curriculum or expectations please do not hesitate to contact me!