5th Grade Rocks

News and Updates

September 2015

We are off to a great start in 5th grade. It is hard to believe that it is already September and the fifth week of school! Community building, learning about each other, practicing transitions, and learning routines have been a big part of our days. We are enjoying learning together and know that this is going to be a special year.

Thank you to everyone that was able to come to the Curriculum breakfast on August 25. If you weren't able to make it, please email us at anytime with questions.

September 11th Day of Remembrance

Each year, on September 11, Barrow fifth graders spend the day participating in a rotation of activities centered around remembering 9/11. One of our 5th grade social studies standards this year is to understand U.S. involvement in world events, including the War on Terrorism in response to the events on 9/11. Our focus this early in the year is primarily set on learning about the everyday heroes who risked their lives to help so many through this tragic event. Although we do our best to avoid the graphic content of the event, students are encouraged to take a break, if needed. We have been doing these rotations for many years and students leave the day with many emotions, but most often proud of our heroes. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

4 the Love of Math

We have been having fun collaborating in math! Number talks have opened many of our days, and students have been focusing on strategies to build mental math computation. Listening to new voices share how they are looking at numbers is exciting. I've learned a lot about how the students are thinking and added to my own toolbox with the strategies they've shared.

Number Talk Strategies we have been using:

  • Making Friendly Numbers
  • Breaking Numbers into Place Value
  • Making Tens

Home-School Connection: Ask your student to tell you what a number talk looks like. Discuss what strategies they used for their number talks.

OA1and OA2 standards: We have been learning about PEMDAS and how to solve expressions using the correct order of operations. The operations in math are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Ask your child if the order in which they solve an expression like [4 x (16 - 8)] +[ (13 - 3) - 6] matters. It's amazing to listen to the conversations they are having and how much growth has occurred in just a couple of weeks with this standard. Matching verbal expressions to numeric expressions is a big focus (example: the sum of 14 and 2 times 3 = (14 + 2) x 3). They are having to use key words like sum, product, quotient, increase, decrease, difference, etc. to figure out how to make matches.

Home- School Connection: Ask them what PEMDAS stands for. Flocabulary has a fun order of operations song that you can sing or dance along to at home. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zanq7gmXY88

Coming up next, we are learning about the "E" in PEMDAS and looking at exponents to the powers of 10. Multiplication and Division will be a focus, as well. Division seems to be tricky for a lot of students and parents who are trying to help with homework. Please, don't get frustrated at home. I will send home some ways to help them, using the methods that go with our 5th grade standards. Your child should always feel comfortable to ask me for additional support if homework seems too difficult. Encourage their participation and question-asking in class each day.

Home-School Connection: Each child has an xtramath account and log-in. This site tests them on their basic facts and targets the facts that they are having the most difficulty with. They are always free to get onto xtramath at home, after school or during the weekend.

The goal is to have fun with numbers and gain confidence.


Students have been working on establishing routines and procedures in ELA. Our collaborating teachers have been busy doing many baseline reading assessments to help us better understand our students as readers. This week we explored figurative language, including simile and metaphor. We have begun our vocabulary homework as well. Each week the students will complete an activity with vocabulary words. Ask them about the words and let them show you their organizers. Remember, students have reading logs and should be reading for 30 minutes every night.

Home School Connection: You can help by finding your child a good place to read each night. Check your child's reading log once a week.

Social Studies

Students have also been delving into learning about our Bill of Rights! They have acted them out in highly entertaining skits, responded via ‘Letter to the Editor’ on the amendment they think is the most important, and have participated in great class discussions about their significance to our lives as well as what it means to be a responsible citizen. We truly have great minds at work in 5th grade!

Home/School Connection: Discuss current events that involve debate around our amendment rights and/or create a Home Bill of Rights with your family!


Last week, students got to explore the lab with centers to simply 'tinker' and get excited for science! Students also learned about using the scientific method and tested their hypothesis in a fun, engaging activity using gummy worms, gummy life savers, a cup, and 4 paper clips. Ask your children about their hypothesis and find out if their group 'saved Sam!'

We will continue with science and begin our Cells and Microorganisms unit this week! Students will have a link to a sqworl site where they can explore this unit online at home. Ask your child to share with you all they are learning about science!

Miss Spurgeon

Hello Families,

We are off to a great start! It was good seeing you at Parent Breakfast and speaking with many of you. I am excited to be working with 5th grade this year. We are "making our mark" in every content area! It so great to be working old and new Barrow Buddies. It is going to be a great year! Thus far, students have studied The Dot, Spoon and Ish. Coming soon, DOT DAY! We will have ELA and math activities that connect to how students can make their mark in every area of their life!

Thank you to PTA for our Circus Mirandus books and to Mr. Plemmons and Avid for our wonderful author visit from Cassie Beasley.

We're Having a Great Start to 5th Grade!

Congratulations and thank you to our patrols!

Ms. Mullins and 5th Grade Enrichment Opportunities

We have several contests and competitions open now for our 5th grade students that you may want to be aware of. Deadlines are looming soon! These make wonderful opportunities to do a little independent research, learn more, contribute to our community, and enhance creativity skills. These contests include: