The McMorrow Times

News from the McGowan/Morrow Fifth Grade Team

Math and Science

In math, we have just finished up our second math unit on division, multiplication, and other number sense concepts. Our next math unit will be a short one on volume. Our students are working very hard in math and have shown tremendous grit and progress. I would like to commend each student who has consistently done their homework and done their best in class each and every day. Math is a hard subject for some students in fifth grade, but with enough persistence and a growth mindset, each student can be successful!

During science class, we are continuing our study of weather and energy. Our students will be collecting weather data and organizing it into a Google spreadsheet to analyze and draw conclusion. We will be making connections between weather and ways that energy is transferred throughout our atmosphere.

It is so important for students to have confidence in their basic math skills. That is why I recommend that each student practice their multiplication and division facts on a regular basis (at least once a week). Does a professional athlete stop practicing just because they reach the pro level? Absolutely not! That's why it's just as vital for even our best math students to keep these skills fresh and maintained. This does not have to be a drill practice with flash cards. Below are some of my favorite websites and games that students can use to make practice fun and exciting!

English/Language Arts and Social Studies

It has been a busy and interesting nine weeks. Our students have been learning and applying the 7 habits of highly effective people to build a classroom community that supports challenging learning, teamwork, self-accountability and respect.

Reading skills we are focused on:

  • Main idea and Supporting Details- overall key idea of the paragraph, section or selection and details that support it

  • Context Clues-How to figure out unfamiliar words

  • Theme- What the author wants us to learn, life lesson

  • Text Features- helps the reader understand how to best understand the text

  • Compare and Contrast

  • Cause and Effect

  • Characterization- Analyzing character’s actions and words to understand motives and impacts

  • Plot- Background(exposition) Rising Action, Climax, Resolution

  • Figurative language: metaphors, similes, hyperbole, alliteration, personification and idioms

Parents, I really appreciate your questions about reading HW so you can best support your child at home. There is no greater influence for your child than you. When you model and nurture the importance of reading for all kinds of purposes at home, your child comes to school ready to learn. Reading for 30 minutes with purpose and without distraction consistently at home is critical to building the reading stamina needed to read the increasingly complex texts required at this level of learning. Thanks for all you do and keep asking questions; it is very helpful for me to understand what needs clarification!

5 Great Questions to use during at home reading discussions:

1. What do you think?

Opportunity for student to make sense of and explain that new information

2. Why do you think that?

After student shares what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.

3. How do you know this?

This question requires students to find text-evidence to support their thinking as well as make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they've experienced, read, and have seen.

4. Can you tell me more?

This question helps the reader to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.

5. What questions do you still have?

This helps the reader understand that good readers think about questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence.

Examples of our varied reading includes excerpts from The Island of the Blue Dolphins (Historical Fiction), The Chi’lin Purse (Chinese Folk-Tale), Mahalia Jackson (Non-Fiction Blues Music history), and Thunder Rose (Tall-Tale).

Focused Skills in Writing:

Narrative writing- Writing good leads, using transitions, building better sentences, when to start a new paragraph, and using dialogue and descriptive language to making writing come alive for your reader.

Written Reading Response: Using text-evidence to support response.

Heritage Night Project

Your student has an information sheet that provides the requirements for the project. Students will fill a silhouette made at school with images, words and colors that tell their “STORY” about their heritage. Using the requirements on the information sheet, students will include 5 images that represent the country or state (it can be more than 1) in their silhouette.

The project will be completed at school, but your child does need your help. Your child’s homework is to share their information sheet and have a conversation with you about what they would include to share their heritage story. They may bring magazine pictures and/or photos as well as ideas about what they want to research by October 30th. All the projects will be displayed on Heritage Night, which is November 19th. Also, you can have your child’s project framed at the event for $10.00 to create and protect this family heirloom.

Team Reminders

  • Students may need to replenish some supplies, especially pencils, erasers and glue sticks.
  • Please be mindful that students are expected to use their agenda on a daily basis. They are given several opportunities to write down their homework assignments during every class. Students are aware of where homework assignments are posted in the classrooms and there should be little to no confusion as to what is assigned for homework each night.
  • Supplies we need for our classrooms:
  1. Games for indoor recess: Chess, Checkers, Apples to Apples (youth version)
  2. Scotch Tape
  3. Sandwich baggies
  • Check to make sure your student’s outerwear, reusable water bottle and lunch boxes are labeled with their first and last name.

  • If you would like a conference, please don't hesitate to contact Mrs. McGowan or Mrs. Morrow via e-mail or phone. Our door is always open to your feedback and questions!

The Leader in Me

Report Cards go home on November 2nd!