The Musing Minds

October 14, 2016


Congratulations to our class Reflections participants and winners! Your creativity brightens our classroom and each of our days.

We are pumped up for pumpkins! Our students have collectively purchased over 250 paper pumpkins to decorate our doorway, and we are currently leading the whole school. So we have been coloring, coloring, coloring! Pumpkins can be purchased for $.50. The "Paper Pumpkin Patch" will be open for business all next week. All proceeds are donated to United Way.


Ms. Rajshree Vora (and our own Pramiti) have graciously volunteered to decorate our classroom's Relay-for-Life pumpkin. We have decided to submit two average-sized pumpkins in the Calavera style. So we are currently in need of the two donated pumpkins, and a $1 donation per student to cover the cost of paint. Any left-over money will be donated to the cause. All of the classrooms' pumpkins will be on display the week of the October 24. Students can vote for their favorites with change. All the pumpkins will be raffled off to lucky winners at BINGO Night. Proceeds support our Relay-for-Life team.

In the Friday Folder you will find two copies of your child's 9-week progress report. Please review, sign, and return one copy. Report cards will be sent in January and May. As always, feel free to contact me or any of your child's teachers with questions or concerns.

Students in 2nd and 5th grades will be taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills beginning on October 26th and ending on November 4th. Five of those days are active testing days; the remaining days are make-up test days. We ask that all parents honor the no lunch guest policy on all the days. If you are willing and able to donate a snack for our testing students on those days, please click the link to sign up:

Thank you!

All Fifth graders and their families are invited to the Veteran's Day Assembly on Friday, November 11th, 12:00. If you would like to honor any veterans or active military members in your family, please see the flyer in the Friday Folder.

Gwin Oaks Families, we need your help! Our school is very lucky to have beautiful outdoor spaces where our children can learn and play. Many of you may have seen our courtyards, where we invite parents to join their kids for lunch. We also use the courtyards for one-on-one reading time and other learning opportunities. Beyond our courtyards, we have an outdoor classroom. The outdoor classroom has a long history of being a great place for lessons on science the outdoors. Sadly, our teachers haven't used the outdoor classroom in a few years because it hasn't been maintained. The county does not maintain these special green spaces at Gwin Oaks, so it falls to us, the Gwin Oaks community of parents, to pitch in and keep these spaces usable and attractive. Please join us for a work day on Saturday, November 12th, from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm. Please bring your work gloves, spades, weed eaters and hedge trimmers. We know Saturdays are busy days, so we welcome you to drop in anytime between 8:00 and 12:00. The class with the largest partent turn-out will earn a pizza party!

Our Learning


Next week we will study text structure--the organizational patterns commonly found in nonfiction texts. The process of identifying text structure enhances students' comprehension of texts. We will specifically address Problem/Solution, Cause/Effect, Compare/Contrast, and Chronological order.


Westward Ho! We enter bravely into the new land of informational writing, just as pioneers once crossed the Great Plains. For our first piece, all students will be writing about the Westward Expansion era of the United States. This week we reviewed the basic components of informational writing, and students began organizing and drafting their subtopic paragraphs.

Social Studies

We finished up our Westward Expansion unit, but students will have the opportunity to extend learning through their writing pieces. Before the group moves on to Science with Ms. McCargo, we will take a day next week to learn about areas of geographical importance in the 5th grade curriculum (the Grand Canyon, the Great Salt Lake, the Hawaiin Islands). Students will be learning about constructive and deconstructive forces next in Science. They will learn how weathering, erosion, and human influence have contributed to many of the iconic landforms in the United States.


Next week we will learn about prepositions and prepositional phrases.

Word Study:

Lesson 8: Latin bases pon-, pos-, posit- meaning "to put, place."


This one is for the girls. (But boys are welcome to tune in too!)

Upcoming Assessments

10.26 ITBS

10.27 ITBS

10.28 ITBS

11.02 ITBS

11.03 ITBS

Upcoming Events

October 14............Student Progress Reports

October 24............Relay for Life Pumpkin Voting

October 26............ITBS (no lunch guests)

October 27............ITBS (no lunch guests)

October 28............ITBS (no lunch guests)

October 28............BINGO Night

October 31............ITBS make-ups (no lunch guests)

November 1..........ITBS make-ups (no lunch guests)

November 2..........ITBS (no lunch guests)

November 3..........ITBS (no lunch guests)

November 4..........ITBS make-ups (no lunch guests)

November 8..........Student/Teacher Holiday (Election Day)

November 9..........Cookie Fundraiser Pick-up

November 12........GOES Outdoor Work Day