Thursday, December 20, 2012

When There is a Blizzard

Thea insisted on wearing her swim goggles outside.

Newsletter December 20, 2012


What a way to start the break.  I am actually bummed that we will not have school Friday; we had such a great day planned.  However, the weather definitely had its own plans.  Thank you so much for the incredible 2 months back I have had.  I am thoroughly enjoying the students and all the great learning that is happening.  I am excited for 2013 and all of the great adventures we will have.
Math – We will take the test either Wednesday or Thursday when we get back, I have to finalize a plan with Mr. Getz and Mr. Wichser and will let you know.  We will still have a fraction celebration with a pizza lunch, that will probably happen Friday the 4th. 
Science – We did not get to do the super tube challenge so we will find the time when we get back. We have started investigating planes and the students are getting a great grasp of what it means to have a system in a controlled experiment. 
Social Studies – We finished the Explorers and now move into Plymouth and the first colony.  We will be furthering our knowledge through readers theatre and also start to practice note taking - a great skill needed in life.
Reading – We wrapped up fairy tales with the sad story of The Little Mermaid; you could have heard a pin drop in the classroom on those last few pages.  My mother regaled us with many stories of Hans Christian Andersen and I was so proud of how great the questions were that the students asked.  they were definitely into the presentation.  After break we will focus on tearing apart vocabulary and different vocabulary tricks writers use.  I have signed us up for Biblionasium.com which I cannot wait to use with the students to see what they are reading and share great books with them.  I will also be starting literacy assessments soon.
Writing – The essay unit finished this week with students needing to share their essays with me via Google docs.  Our next unit will focus on writing big stories, so back into fiction.  I cannot wait to see my students' imagination at play.  There is no blogging challenge over break, although we just got 130 comments today, i do hope the students feel like sharing stories if they have them.
Special Notes –
* What an incredibly special moment it was to have Joel Stave in our classroom last Friday.  I wish you could have seen the faces of the kids.  Joel was a very gracious and kind presenter, and he even wrote us a very heartfelt thank you email.  We sent him a very arge envelope filled to the brim with thank you cards yesterday.  
* Geography bee will start when we get back, we did not get to it this week. I keep track of the scores and pass them onto Ms. Weber who will let me know after the 4th whether any kids made it in.
* There will be no homework over break, I hope the students will blog and read but that is it.  This is their chance to gear up for the second half of 5th grade.
* How to presentations have been informative so far.  It is great to see the diversity in what the students choose to do and how proud they are.  We have had really great live and videotaped ones.  I do apologize if the media component became bothersome for you as parents, that was not my intention.
*  Thank you so much for the much too generous Christmas presents, I always tell the kids that they are my best presents and it is true.
* MAP testing starts after break on the afternoons of January 7th and January 8th.
* Thea is actively pointing at every single toy she sees and asking Santa to get it for her, particular anything pink and sparkly.  We love the holidays and cannot wait to see her face on Christmas. 
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd, new math groups Friday, January 4th, Yahara final versions are due to me Friday, January 4th,   MAP testing January 7th and 8th at 1:00 PM, No school Monday, January 21st and Monday, January 28th.

Yahara Cover Contest

If you would like to enter the Yahara River Cover Contest, here are the details:

  • Must say Yahara River Writers 2013
  • Only on white paper 
  • Only in black pen/marker
  • You can also enter for the inside covers: poetry, short story, editorial, and cartoon - then the cover has to have that name on it.
  • All submissions due to Mrs. Ripp by Friday, January 4th.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

And Then We Played Football












Friday, December 14, 2012

Joel Stave Visited Us Today

And he even played football with the kids, what a wonderful role model for the kids.

Some Pictures From Our Room Today

All of the wonderful holiday greetings we have received from around the country


A sea of Wisconsin shirts as students do science

Newsletter December 14, 2012


MathWe are almost done with unit 5, my favorite unit, and will have the test on Friday.  If your child will be absent please let me know so that they can take the test before the break.  We will also celebrate the end of the unit with a pizza lunch on Friday.  Please send in $3 with your child to cover lunch.  The next unit is about collecting and processing data.
Science We are trying to figure out lifeboat capacities and will be inspecting each other’s boats today.  Next week, we will have our first challenge of the year; the super tube challenge.  Thank you for sending in all of the paper tubes.
Social Studies – I continue to push the students in their expectations for work and projects.  We have started presenting our mini-explorer projects and have discussed how we could make them better.  Students are evaluating their peers along with me, which leads them to think about what makes a great product.
Reading fairy tales are wrapping up with a final focus on Hans Christian Andersen.  Being Danish, we were raised with his fairytales so I am thrilled to share them with the students.  My mother, Nete, happens to be a professor at UW who teaches a very popular class on Hans Christian Andersen, so she will be coming out to do a guest presentation for us on Wednesday.
Writing The essay unit is winding down and we are looking forward to starting our next big unit; writing fiction!  I love how quickly the students have become adept at using Google Docs as this will certainly serve them well in the future.  This week’s blogging challenge has been a great read, please do take a moment to read them and leave us a comment.
Special Notes
* We are working hard in 5th grade and I love seeing how the kids are banding together to form their community.  I have the best job in the world and it is because of these kids!
* Winter party will take place Friday, December 21st at 1:00 PM.  It does not look like there will be any snow for sledding so we will figure out other choices for the kids. 
* Geography bee starts next week during resource time, I keep track of the scores and pass them onto Ms. Weber who will let me know after break whether any kids made it in.
* There will be no homework over break, I hope the students will blog and read but that is it.  This is their chance to gear up for the second half of 5th grade.
*  We are reading so many great books in 5th, I have been passing on all books I am reading to students and will update reviews on our website as well.
* Congratulations to all of our students in the spelling bee.  3 of our students made it in to the district spelling!
* We have our mystery guest coming today, I hope the kids like his story.
* MAP testing starts after break on the afternoons of January 7th and January 8th.
* There will be a sub in the afternoon on Tuesday as I meet with Mr. Getz and Mr. Wichser to plan literacy.
* Thea is actively pointing at every single toy she sees and asking Santa to get it for her, particular anything pink and sparkly.  We love the holidays and cannot wait to see her face on Christmas. 
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Sub in the afternoon Tuesday, December 18th, Guest lecturer Wednesday, December 19th at 1 PM, Winter Party is December 21st at 1:00 PM, winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd, new math groups Wednesday, January 2nd, Yahara final versions are due to me Friday, January 4th,   MAP testing January 7th and 8th at 1:00 PM, No school Monday, January 21st and Monday, January 28th.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Project on Magellan


Friday, December 7, 2012

How To Presentations


One of the goals in 5th grade is to get students ready to present on topics, which definitely counts as a lifelong needed skill.  We have therefore decided that the students need to teach each other something through their presentation.


Here are some guidelines:
  • The presentations can be either filmed and shown to the class or done live in class.
  • All of the presentations will start Wednesday Dec. 19th
  • Presentations do not have to be longer than 2 to 3 minutes
  • Students will be evaluated on how loud and clear they spoke to their audience, how they presented, and whether they kept it interesting (rubrics will be provided).  This will be a combination of peer evaluation and teacher evaluation.
  • Topic is student's choice, as long as we learn how to do something.
  • Past presentations have been on how to score a hockey goal, how to ice a cupcake, how to fold origami etc.
Here is the rubric we will use to evaluate.



4
3
2
1
Enthusiasm
Facial expressions and body language generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.
Facial expressions and body language sometimes generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.
Facial expressions and body language are used to try to generate enthusiasm, but seem somewhat faked.
Very little use of facial expressions or body language. Did not generate much interest in topic being presented.
Preparedness
Student is completely prepared and has obviously rehearsed.
Student seems pretty prepared but might have needed a couple more rehearsals.


The student is somewhat prepared, but it is clear that rehearsal was lacking.
Student does not seem at all prepared to present.
Speaks Clearly
Speaks clearly and distinctly all (100-95%) the time, and mispronounces no words.
Speaks clearly and distinctly all (100-95%) the time, but mispronounces some words.
Speaks clearly and distinctly most (94-85%) of the time. Mispronounces several words
Often mumbles or can not be understood.
Body Language
Stands up straight, looks relaxed and confident. Establishes eye contact with everyone in the room during the presentation.
Stands up straight and establishes eye contact with everyone in the room during the presentation.
Sometimes stands up straight and establishes eye contact.
Slouches, fidgets, and/or does not look at  people during the presentation.


Volume
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members throughout the presentation.
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members at least 90% of the time.
Volume is loud enough to be heard by all audience members at least 80% of the time.
Volume often too soft to be heard by all audience members.
Topic
Shows a full understanding of the topic.
Shows a good understanding of the topic.
Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic.
Does not seem to understand the topic very well.
Content
Successfully taught the class a skill or showed them how to do something
Mostly successful at teaching or showing the skill to the class.
Somewhat successful at teaching or showing the skill to the class.
Limited success in teaching or showing the class the skill.




Yahara River Writers Contest


December is the month students can work on their submissions to the Yahara River Writers Contest.  We have gone over the details in class and the deadline for submission is the day we come back from winterbreak, january 2nd.

Formatting Requirements for short story:
Maximum 850 words
Font is Times New Roman, 12 point size
Margins:  1 inch on all sides
Double-spaced
Title:  Times New Roman, boldface; 14 point
NO NAME should appear on the final version

Formatting Requirements for editorial:
Maximum 475 words
Font is Times New Roman, 12 point size for body
Margins:  1 inch on all sides
Double-spaced
Title:  Times New Roman, boldface; 14 point
NO NAME should appear on the final version


This is a county-wide contest where 33 school districts in the area send submissions. All entries will be judged and the top ten in each category, per grade level, will be selected.  From each top ten group, a first and second place entry will be identified.  All top ten entries will be published in the Yahara River Writers Anthology. and all authors of top ten entries will be invited to attend a workshop on the UW Campus.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Newsletter December 7, 2012


MathWe are working our way through fractions and boy are there a lot of pages to this unit.  We have also restarted fact tests with many students testing out on their first attempt.  To celebrate the end of the fraction unit, we will have pizzas for lunch on December 21st.  Please send in $3 with your child to cover pizza and juice.
Science Students have been discussing variables in their swingers as we try to figure out what it means to control our experiments.  Next week we get to work with lifeboats and fake passengers as we discover capacity and environment in variables.
Social Studies – Students are finishing their self-led explorer inquiries.  I love the moments in my room where I am not needed because all of the students are so engaged in their project.  Students will present their projects starting Tuesday and will also have to have a way to assess their peers’ learning.
Reading We learned about cause and effect through Hansel & Gretel, Determining Importance with the Story of the Three Bears and also Little Red Riding Hood and I am loving our small groups as well.  Students cannot wait for read aloud; Harry just got sorted into Gryffindor, and many have volunteered to read all the new books in our library.  Students have to vouch for them for them to be placed in the library.  I love the enthusiasm there is with reading.       
Writing We are conferring, adding honesty to our writing, and also slowly getting ready to type our essays.  We have discovered more tools that great writers use such as honest word choices and repeating certain phrases.  We have also blogged about the one thing we would do this holiday to make someone happy; these are definitely worth a read as many of the blogs involve our families.
Special Notes
* We have been hard at work on our greeting card; I continue to be amazed at the artistry of some of the students in here.  Wow, what creativity!  We cannot wait to start receiving some of our own.    
* We have access to Google apps!  All students can now access their Google Drive from home, all they have to do is go to the district web page, click “For Students” and then click “Google Apps.”  Students are already sharing presentations and working on them simultaneously, as well as sharing their finished products with me.  No more losing unsaved work or not being able to work on something at home if you want to.
* Our holiday party will be a joint effort by all 5th grades.  We will do treats in here at 1 PM and at 1:30 PM if there is snow we will go sledding, if there is no snow there will be choices like board games or crafts for the students to do.
* Something amazing to see is when the kids teach each other how to do certain things in the classroom.  With Voki.com, Animoto.com, and Google Apps being introduced this week there has been quite a bit of sharing and “Hey, check this out!”  This is my absolute favorite thing to see in the classroom – curiosity!
* Our cameras, video cameras, and even a Livescribe pen are on their way and should be ready for us to use after the holiday break.  This is all due to the grant I received earlier this year from the Meemic Foundation; we are thrilled to get these tools in our hands to support and show off our learning.
* Thea cannot make up her mind when it comes to what Santa should bring her so she has decided to also put in requests from the babies.  So far Oskar really wants a sparkly Barbie doll and Ida wants Polly Pockets according to Thea.
* It was great to see so many of you at the Winter Tea, what a great event put on by the PTO!
* I have some dates for you to put on your calendars: Spelling Bee Monday, December 10th at 8:30 AM, Sub in the morning December 11th, Winter Party is December 21st at 1:30 PM (we are hoping it will be a sledding party) and winter break is from December 22nd through January 2nd.